Aaron Boone watched CC Sabathia pitch Friday night with full knowledge of the fight Sabathia was waging.
The 39-year-old lefty was in pain, but still he faced batter after batter, using his 19 seasons of major league experience to compensate for the surgically repaired right knee that was screaming at him to stop.
“I have so much respect for this guy,” Boone said Saturday after the Yankees placed Sabathia on the 10-day injured list for the fourth time this season.
“[I have respect for] what he’s doing and what he puts himself through and the not ‘woe is me,’ the not ‘look at me and look at what I’m going through.’ He just competes. He’s a warrior. He really is.”
Sabathia, who previously has said he expects to get a knee replacement after he retires at the end of this season, had the knee drained and received a cortisone shot after leaving Friday’s game after three innings.
It was only his third start and 10th inning since returning from his last IL stint. If the knee reacts well, the Yankees could get him back relatively quickly, Boone said. If it doesn’t, there’s a chance he will not pitch again.
“I don’t want to speculate on that,” Boone said. “I don’t know. We’ll see how these next few days are. If it responds the way it normally does, then no, I think there’s a realistic chance that he’ll be back and could even be back pretty shortly.”
If Sabathia does return, Boone said, the Yankees will consider every possibility — including using him for even shorter outings.
Boone also praised Sabathia for what he was able to do Friday — allowing only one hit in those three innings, a solo home run by Jurickson Profar. Sabathia retired the side in order in his last inning but at times looked uncomfortable.
“There are a lot of emotions running through me as he’s coming out of that game where he’s performing, and that last inning goes through the top of their order and I know he’s out there in a lot of pain and doing it on guile,” Boone said. “[It’s] been tough knowing he’s got to deal with this and still [has to] go out and get real good hitters out. It’s a challenge.”