Let’s not beat around the bush, the Yankees long time de facto ace CC Sabathia has seen his better days. The last two seasons he’s been under constant scrutiny about his declining fastball and less then stellar pitching performances. He was shutdown in May after a degenerative knee issue was discovered, which was just one of many hits the Yankees’ rotation took this year.
After being shelved for almost two months, Sabathia began his rehab. He threw a few bullpens at the stadium, then last Saturday he made his first official rehab start with the Tampa Yankees. He felt good and the team decided to bump him up to Trenton for an outing on Wednesday. While his outing wasn’t spectacular throwing 55 pitches over 3.2 innings and giving up five runs, three earned on five hits. But results weren’t the issue, the concern was going to be about his health. Sabathia said in his post game presser after he was concerned about how his knee was going to respond the next morning, turns out yesterday we got the bad news he was hoping to avoid.
Sabathia woke up yesterday will swelling and fluid build up in his knee, the absolute worst thing that could have happened. Manager Joe Girardi made his weekly radio appearance on WFAN Thursday and broke the bad news. “When he woke up today he had some fluid on that knee again. So he is getting an MRI and they are going to determine what the next step is,” Girardi said. “I don’t know where his rehab is going right now. Obviously, he needs to consult with the doctors. He might even be in the tube as we speak right now and we’ll go from there. It’s not the news that we wanted, so we will just have to wait and see.”.
After last night’s game we got an update on Sabathia’s status, according to Dan Barbarisi of the WSJ reported that his MRI showed swelling in the knee and he will go and see Dr. James Andrews to see what the plan going forward will be. Girardi said after “you don’t want a setback like this”.
So with his status in question and his rehab has been shutdown for the foreseeable future, what is next for the aging workhorse? The 30-day rehab clock has already begun, so if he can’t get back on the field, he will have to start from scratch. But let’s look at the big picture, right now the chances of CC coming back anytime soon, or even this year are not looking good.
Is this really the beginning of the end for 33-year-old former Cy Young award winner? This degenerative knee issues is probably something that is going to plague him for a long time. Problem is there really is no procedure or quick fix surgery that will correct it in time. A long term option might be some sort of surgery, and there are reports that he could have season ending micro fracture surgery, which would be a devastating blow to the Yankees and Sabathia. A bad case of severe arthritis has turned into a nightmare injury. He tried the stem-cell injection and thought that was going to be enough, but turns out that wasn’t the answer. Should the Yankees shut him down for the rest of year? I wouldn’t think they could afford to, but if they want Sabathia to have any chance of pitching again in pinstripes, maybe it might be the best thing for everyone. If you want to look at the even bigger picture, there’s a slim chance he might be at the end of road. Now I know Sabathia is tough as nails, and will not give up without a fight, but if he can’t get healthy, then what’s the point.
I’ve been fan and a supporter of Sabathia since day one, and even through these last two rough seasons, I’ve stuck by him and said the guy is a proven winner. But after logging the over 2800 innings since 2001, which is the most by any active pitcher, maybe things are finally catching up with him. If he has to hang up his cleats, and put down the down his glove for the final time, it will be sad day. I’m not saying that’s what is going to happen, but with two more years on his contract and a vesting option in 2017, the chances that he will be able to make it to the end of his contract aren’t looking good. If there are any other CC Sabathia fans still out there, let’s stay positive.