CC Sabathia rehabbing well, doesn't want limit on innings

New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia accepts donated New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia accepts donated items at Yankee Stadium for superstorm Sandy relief efforts. (Nov. 7, 2012) Photo Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

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Since his days with the Indians, Yankees ace CC Sabathia has pitched with a bone spur in his left elbow, one that ultimately required surgery two weeks ago. Joe Girardi handled the ace pitcher with vigilance, aware of the condition that this season manifested itself with tightness in Sabathia's elbow after his starts.

"It wasn't something that I worried about every day," Girardi said at Yankee Stadium Wednesday. "I worried about it the day after [he pitched]."

So Girardi built extra rest into Sabathia's schedule. Two seasons ago, Girardi often gave Sabathia an additional day's rest between some of his starts. This season, two stints on the disabled list held Sabathia to his lowest workload in six years.

But the Yankees lefthander, who is recovering well from his surgery, railed against any additional workload limits going forward.

"I don't know what we get out of that," Sabathia said. "I think everybody talks about me being on the DL twice and would that help? . . . But I don't think cutting back innings or obviously putting me on a pitch count at my age [32] would do any good for me."

Sabathia insisted that his mixed postseason results likely would have been the same with or without the DL stints, one of which was from elbow inflammation that Girardi said might have been linked to the bone spur.

"This is the first year it's really kind of become something," Girardi said of the spur, which at times limited Sabathia's range of motion after games.

Still, Sabathia refused to use his elbow as an excuse for his performance. He finished 15-6 with a 3.38 ERA. His 200 innings were his fewest in a season since 2006.

Sabathia, who is rehabbing his elbow five days a week, expects to be fully healthy heading into spring training. He plans to start throwing after Christmas, which he said is normal.

"I expect there to be no delays between now and spring training," said Sabathia, who is still owed $119 million by the Yankees through 2017. "So I should be ready to go."

In other Yankees news:

Andy Pettitte has yet to decide whether he'll return next season. But Girardi believes he will return. "Will I be surprised if he comes back? No, I won't," Girardi said. "Andy pitched well again."

Girardi questioned the accuracy of a published report, which said that the manager requested during the playoffs to have the Yankee Stadium public address announcer not say Alex Rodriguez's name when he was pinch hit for by Raul IbaƱez in Game 3 of the ALDS against Baltimore. Girardi refused to elaborate on the story, which he called "incorrect."

Derek Jeter's fractured ankle remains in a cast.

Girardi and Sabathia appeared at Yankee Stadium to collect donations as part of relief efforts in the wake of superstorm Sandy. The Gate 2 entrance will be open 24 hours a day through the end of the week for fans donating nonperishable food, household items and clothing.

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