If everything goes according to plan, the Yankees expect to activate CC Sabathia from the disabled list on Wednesday to wrap up the series against the Orioles. When he was originally placed on the DL a few weeks ago, it sounded like the Yankees weren't certain that he would even pitch again this season, so it is a bit surprising to have him back so soon. The injury in question is the knee that has been bothering him since the team discovered that he has a degenerative knee condition last season. He has received treatment for his knee throughout the season by having it drained and receiving cortisone shots, but the pain finally caught up with him. While on the disabled list, Sabathia seems to have figured out a new way to limit his pain.
Back in February, Sabathia announced that he would be wearing a knee brace for the entire 2015 season. During spring training, it was a bulky brace, visible under his uniform. At some point, Sabathia decided to switch to a compression sleeve, which he had been wearing all season. Interestingly enough, although Sabathia had struggled to pitch well all season, the past few weeks he had been noticeably better. His velocity was up a few ticks and he admitted that he had stopped holding back on the mound (to protect his knee) because he was frustrated by his poor season. When he returns on Wednesday, he'll be wearing the bulky brace that he wore during spring training again. This new brace reportedly holds Sabathia's knee in place without restricting his movement, and he feels confident that it will help.
"I got the same delivery. I'm not landing any shorter or anything like that. It's just I'm going out and I really think it's holding me in place."
Sabathia threw a 30-pitch bullpen session early last week, then pitched a simulated game on Friday without feeling any pain. He reportedly had another bullpen session yesterday, and barring any setbacks, will make Wednesday's start. Joe Girardi said that Sabathia would jump straight into the rotation, and avoid pitching out of the bullpen, since he hasn't ever experienced the warm up process and the situation would be new to him. If he is not ready to start Wednesday, then they will probably just stay on rotation.
After the initial fear that he might need micro-fracture surgery or miss the remainder of the season, it sort of feels like the Yankees are rushing him back. The team does only have one more off day before the season ends, but with the expanded roster they should be able to find a spot starter fairly easily. Luis Severino has been a fantastic addition to the rotation, and probably couldn't have pitched any better than he has so far, so it's not like they really need Sabathia back so soon. It will be interesting to see what the postseason rotation looks like if he is able to stay healthy.