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CC Sabathia unwinds during vacation

CC Sabathia delivers a pitch during a game

CC Sabathia delivers a pitch during a game against the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium. (July 14, 2013) Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

BOSTON -- After a first half CC Sabathia described as "terrible," he felt it best to completely disengage himself from the sport during the All-Star break.

So Sabathia headed to St. Barts -- putting himself in "a little bubble," he said -- knowing nothing of what was going on in the sports world.

"It was refreshing to get away and relax," Sabathia said. "It was the first time I had done that in a while. So it felt good."

Sabathia had a disappointing first half: 9-8 with a 4.07 ERA. Hardly disastrous numbers but not becoming of a staff ace, either. He said he's been working on a slight mechanical fix.

"We've been talking about my arm angle being too low," he said. "We're starting a new drill where I spread out my legs pretty wide, just using my upper body playing catch the first couple of throws just to make sure I'm getting on top and getting the arm angle. I'm hoping that will help me out [Sunday night].''

Fenway farewellMariano Rivera won't officially bid adieu to Fenway until September, but as part of his goodbye in opposing ballparks, he visited with fans before Saturday's game. The group included Ken Greenwood, an usher in his 46th year at Fenway, and brothers J.P. and Paul Norden, victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.

Rivera said Boston fans have gradually treated him better and better. "At the beginning, no one knew me and you have to earn that respect," Rivera said before the game, one in which he got a standing ovation and then picked up his 31st save. "Over the years . . . I have received that respect. I go into the streets and Red Sox fans, people from here, give me a lot of respect, and you definitely appreciate that."

Roster doingsThe Yankees placed Zoilo Almonte on the 15-day disabled list with an ankle sprain, recalled outfielders Melky Mesa and Thomas Neal, and designated Alberto Gonzalez for assignment. Joe Girardi said Neal mostly will DH against lefties and Mesa, a solid fielder who strikes out frequently, will see time in the outfield.

Lester scratchedThe Yankees will not face Jon Lester Sunday night, drawing Ryan Dempster instead. Red Sox manager John Farrell said Lester will be pushed to Tuesday because of "general wear and tear." He added: "We felt like two things: One, we have an opportunity right now to give him a couple extra days coming out of the break. And two, he'll benefit from it."

The Red Sox are awaiting word on the condition of Clay Buchholz, who is battling shoulder and neck soreness and had a setback when trying to throw during the All-Star break. Farrell said Buchholz might get a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews. Buchholz is 9-0 but hasn't pitched since June 8.

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