JULY 18: Sabathia will undergo arthroscopic knee surgery on July 18 and miss the rest of the season, Cashman told reporters, including Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (on Twitter). While it’s bad news for the Yankees, it’s not as bad as it could’ve been, as the arthroscopic surgery is less severe than microfracture surgery.
Nonetheless, it’s tough to imagine the Yankees overcoming the loss of Sabathia, Ivan Nova and potentially Masahiro Tanaka for most of the season. The Yankees were likely already prepared for the loss of Sabathia, however, so it’s unlikely that this significantly alters their thinking as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches.
JULY 4: Yankees hurler C.C. Sabathia has suffered a setback in his efforts to rehab a degenerative condition in his right knee and may now require microfracture surgery, as ESPNNewYork.com’s Andrew Krammer was among those to report. Manager Joe Girardi said that, at present, it is “fair to say” that Sabathia will likely not return this year.
Sabathia will pay another visit to Dr. James Andrews on July 14th for an assessment. “[Surgery] is always a possibility when you have a degenerative knee,” said Girardi. “I’m not exactly sure if he was to have surgery what it would be, that’s yet to be determined.”
The malady is serious enough that Girardi was not willing to rule out the possibility that it could ultimately end the career of the soon-to-be 34-year-old. “I think it’s too early to predict that,” said Girardi. “But whenever you have degenerative issues that cause surgery or things like that, there’s always a little question there.”
Sabathia is under contract through 2016 for a guaranteed $53MM, including a $5MM buyout for a 2017 vesting/club option. But the remaining $20MM on that option becomes guaranteed if Sabathia does not suffer a left shoulder injury which causes him to end the 2016 season on the DL, spend more than 45 days on the DL in 2016, or make more than six relief appearances in 2016.
With the Yankees now seemingly unable to bank on a return to the hill from Sabathia, to say nothing of rotation mates Michael Pineda (who is still inching ahead in his rehab program) and Ivan Nova (out for the year after Tommy John surgery), the club’s need for starting pitching becomes all the more pronounced.