The Yankees’ rotation took another hit it didn’t need Monday afternoon.
CC Sabathia was placed on the 10-day disabled list with right knee inflammation, the club announced before Monday night’s game against the Mets.
George Kontos, whom the Yankees acquired from the Indians last week for cash considerations, for the moment took Sabathia’s spot on the roster.
General manager Brian Cashman said Sabathia went to trainer Steve Donohue immediately after his start Sunday against the Rangers and said his right knee, which has caused him multiple problems in the past, “bothered” him throughout the game.
“He told Stevie he could benefit from skipping a start,” Cashman said by phone before Monday night’s 8-5 loss to the Mets, a game in which still-struggling ace Luis Severino lasted just four innings.
Cashman said going into the season, the Yankees knew at some point, as part of a “program to manage” Sabathia’s right knee, they would have to rest the pitcher.
“The surprise would be if we weren’t dealing with this at some point,” Cashman said.
Sabathia was limited to just eight starts in 2014, placed on the DL earlier that season with right knee inflammation and eventually had season-ending arthroscopic surgery on the knee July 23. He spent time on the DL in 2015 because of right knee inflammation and had a “cleanup” procedure on his right knee that offseason. As part of the management of the knee, Sabathia receives periodic lubrication injections, his most recent one coming just before the All-Star break.
“CC’s a pro,” Cashman said. “He knows exactly what he has to do to manage it. He knows when [to push] and when to throttle back and this is a throttle-back period.”
After Monday’s game, Aaron Boone said righthander Luis Cessa is likely to take Sabathia’s next turn in the rotation.
“The knee’s always the biggest concern with CC,” Boone said. “He had to grind through that last start [Sunday] . . . We decided DL’ing him now maybe means he only misses one start. The swelling wasn’t very bad, which is a good sign. We do believe it’s probably just one turn through [the rotation], and hopefully is something that benefits him down the stretch.”
That Sabathia ended up on the DL, as Cashman indicated, isn’t in itself surprising.
The lefthander is 38 years old and has 3,436 1/3 career innings, including 119 1/3 this season.
But Sabathia, who is 7-4 with a 3.32 ERA this season, had not shown any indication of being hurt and is coming off two strong outings. He allowed one earned run in 5 2/3 innings Tuesday in Chicago against the White Sox, then threw six scoreless innings Sunday. Sabathia totaled 19 strikeouts in the two outings, covering 11 2/3 innings.
“These games are important,” Boone said after Sunday’s 7-2 victory over the Rangers. “We need our starters to go out there and give us quality outings. He’s been a big part of helping us right the ship a little bit [since the four-game sweep by Boston] and be able to rack up some wins here.”