CC Lands on DL Again; Yanks Call on Phelps and Lowe for Help
Added by Elizabeth DiPietro on August 13, 2012.
An MRI on Sabathia's elbow was clean but the Yankees placed the lefty on the DL.
At some point in time, we’ve all felt like the CC Sabathia of our respective jobs. You go in and perform, even though you feel less than perfect. When it seems like everyone else is slacking, your boss diverts even more responsibility your way, saying, “Come on, you can give me a few more hours.” No one seems to notice when the incompetent people fail, only when you don’t perform to your potential.
For the second time this season—and his career—the Yankee ace landed on the 15-day disabled list and, in true CC fashion, tried to argue his way out of it, insisting he was fine. “Everybody pitches with a little pain,” he said, referring to the tightness in his elbow that has been bothering him for about a week.
Eventually he relented, understanding why Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman made the decision, but maintained, in no uncertain terms, that he would pitch on August 24, his first day off the DL.
Temporarily replacing Sabathia will not be easy, to say the least. He was supposed to make today’s start against the Rangers in the opening game of an important four-game set at Yankee Stadium. David Phelps, who has experience in the starting rotation this season, has been tapped to make the start instead.
Phelps has done a good job this season, going 2-3 with a 2.42 ERA in 22 appearances, mostly out of the bullpen. As of late, he has fallen into a long-relief role and performed well.
The chain reaction of pitchues (I defined this word as a portmanteau of pitching and issues in an earlier post) is already evident. Since Phelps is starting today, he wasn’t available for his usual long relief duty on Sunday in Toronto, when the Yankees desperately needed him to mop-up Phil Hughes’ mess (i.e., 7 runs in 4 innings). Down 7-0, Girardi instead went to 33-year-old recent call-up Kyoto Igarashi, who surrendered three more runs in two innings. Meanwhile, the Yankees rallied for seven runs, and lo and behold, they lost 10-7. If Phelps had been available for his usual role and held the Blue Jays at seven runs, the Yankees would have tied the game and had a chance to win.
To address the bullpen shortage, the Yankees came to an agreement with veteran Derek Lowe, who is normally a starter but agreed to pitch out of the bullpen after posting a ghastly 8-10 with a 5.52 ERA with the Indians earlier this year. The contract is expected to become official today. Igarashi will likely be sent back down to make room for Lowe.
Anyone looking for Andy Pettitte for respite from the Yankees’ pitchues is going to have to be a little more patient. Pettitte is eligible to come off the DL on August 27, but, Cashman said we likely won’t see him before mid-September. He is still nursing a fractured left fibula.
For the Yankees, the one bit of pitching good news this week is that they won’t face Yu Darvish during this week’s series against the Rangers. Darvish baffled the Yanks on April 24, blanking them for eight innings.
As for CC, it’s obvious that placing him on the DL was the right decision. We want him healthy for September and the postseason. And, if you needed any more proof that, underneath it all, baseball players are just like us, consider this: Sabathia conceded to the DL placement only at the insistence of his wife.
So the next time you’re hacking up a lung on your way out the door to work, and your wife tells you to call out and go to the doctor, listen to her. CC Sabathia did, and it just may be what saves the Yankees this season.