It's been a rough couple of years for Yankees ace CC Sabathia, but while talking with the YES Network earlier this month, he said that he has made progress with his injured knee.
The big lefty told Yankees Magazine that the ailment no longer limits him in his baseball-related activities. It became clear Sabathia was suffering from the degenerative condition after a May game in Milwaukee, eventually causing him to miss the rest of the season. During the short time he was on the field, it wasn't pretty: a 5.28 ERA and 4.78 FIP in eight starts, with 10 homers against him in just 46 innings. After several months of rest and rehab though, he's on the upswing.
"It feels good," Sabathia said. "For me, I have no complaints. I'm able to do all of my workouts, play catch and do everything. So I'm excited about how it feels."
It's a safe bet the Yankees are hopeful too after hearing that, as Sabathia is one of the biggest question marks on the team going into 2015. Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda and Ivan Nova also missed good amounts of time last year, but Nova is coming off the much more common Tommy John surgery and Tanaka and Pineda were both able to return to the mound in September.
Indeed, Sabathia's issue is a unique one. It's difficult to predict how he'll come back from it, but he is doing his part to rebound.
"I've been doing everything I can to stay active," he said. "I've been working out, playing catch, I'll just continue to do that all this offseason and be ready to go."
When next season begins, it's probable that Sabathia will be penciled in as the Yankees' third starter, behind Tanaka and Pineda and in front of Nathan Eovaldi and Chris Capuano. Eovaldi is a youngster whom the Yankees just want to develop into a more complete pitcher, so it's unlikely he'll be expected to dominate much. Capuano is really just a fill-in until Nova returns the rotation as tentatively schedule in May or June, so the Yankees presumably aren't keeping expectations high for him, either.
That being said, it can be fairly assumed the Yankees will need Sabathia to perform well if they want to start the year off on the right foot, hard as that might be for him.