CC Sabathia's road back to the Yankees' starting rotation moves another step closer Wednesday night when he starts for Double-A Trenton. But the impatient lefthander said his recovery from stem cell treatment for his injured right knee has gone so well that he feels capable of pitching for the Yankees right now.
"If it was up to me, I already would have been back," Sabathia said before Tuesday night's game against Tampa Bay. "But it's one step at a time, and I've been feeling good. I'm excited."
Sabathia, moved to the 60-day DL to create roster space, said he felt he threw well in his first rehab assignment Saturday for Class A Tampa even though he allowed two runs and three hits in 21/3 innings. He threw 37 pitches and will have a 50-pitch limit in Trenton. He had no problems fielding.
"I had a couple balls where I had to move around and get over , and I felt fine," Sabathia said.
Sabathia said he was confident of the knee when he could throw off the mound without pain. Now it's a matter of working on his control.
"Fastball command is the biggest thing because I throw everything off that," Sabathia said. "It's been decent. Hopefully, it won't take me too long, and I can get back in the groove and start pumping the strike zone."
Asked what impact he might have on the rotation, Sabathia said, "I guess my impact the first couple years here. Hopefully, I can get back to that."
Manager Joe Girardi said he planned to give Dellin Betances two days off in a row after Sunday's two-inning stint against Boston and a brief two-walk appearance in Monday night's loss to the Rays. "Sometimes, I'll just say I'm giving him two days whether he says he's tired or not," Girardi said . . . "My job is to get the most of him but also to protect him from himself. I will do that."The Yankees optioned reliever Jose Ramirez to Triple-A Scranton / Wilkes-Barre and called up RHP Jim Miller . . . After two late-night endings in a row, Girardi called off batting practice and gave players a 5 p.m. report time last nightTuesday night.