CC Sabathia headed for DL with groin injury

CC Sabathia of the New York Yankees reacts

CC Sabathia of the New York Yankees reacts against the New York Mets. (June 24, 2012) (Credit: Getty Images)

One of the most durable Yankees in recent years is headed to the disabled list.

Joe Girardi announced Wednesday morning that lefthander CC Sabathia would miss at least two starts with a Grade 1 strain of his left adductor (groin).

"He said he felt a little tug in his adductor muscle Sunday in the fourth inning," Girardi said. "He did not inform us until after his bullpen yesterday. We're going to play the safe route and DL him."

Girardi said Freddy Garcia would take Sabathia's start Friday and be on a pitch count of 50-60 pitches. General manager Brian Cashman said he was "leaning" toward bringing up righthander Adam Warren from Triple-A to take Sabathia's spot on the roster.

Cashman said he does not believe the injury to be severe and that he expects Sabathia to be back after the All-Star break.

"I don't expect him to start the second half on line, he'll probably pitch toward the back of the rotation when the second half starts," Cashman said.

Sabathia, 31, did not want to go on the DL.

The lefthander last landed on the DL in 2006 when he was with the Indians after suffering a right oblique strain.

"He didn't want to go down," Cashman said. "I came in and it was a one-way conversation. I did all the talking. I know what he wants to do but this is what we're going to do. You have to protect players from themselves. He's a competitor, he wants to be out there. He feels he can pitch with it right now."

And Cashman said, if it was later in the season, the Yankees might let him.

"If this was the September stretch run, it would be a different story," Cashman said. "But we're not going to mess with it."

Sabathia entered this season 95-40 with a 3.09 ERA over the last five seasons, leading Major League Baseball in wins and innings pitched (1,199.0) in that time. He's thrown at least 230 innings each of those seasons.

Girardi said his team doesn't want to but it will have to cope. Just as it did when Mariano Rivera and David Robertson went down within two weeks of each other in May.

"There's no doubt we're going to miss him but we have a pretty experienced club," Girardi said. "We lost the greatest closer of all time and we were able to respond, we lost our setup guy and we were able to respond. We were without Alex [Rodriguez] a couple years ago for the first couple months and we were able to get through that. You just have to fight through it, that's all. And our belief is it's only going to be two starts so we should be OK."

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