The Yankees announced today that they have placed left-hander CC Sabathia on the 15-day disabled list with a strained groin and selected the contract of left-handed reliever (and, of course, former Yankee) Phil Coke to take his spot on the roster. The Yankees had an open spot on the 40-man roster, so no corresponding move is needed to clear a space for Coke.
Sabathia, 35, has given the Yankees three solid starts in five turns this season, most recently highlighted by an outing in which he tossed seven scoreless innings with six hits, two walks and six strikeouts against a tough Orioles lineup in Baltimore. He’s currently sporting a 3.81 ERA with 6.7 K/9, 4.1 BB/9 and a 47.7 percent ground-ball rate through 28 1/3 innings.
The hope is that Sabathia will only miss about three weeks, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch tweets, but his placement on the disabled list further thins out what was already a fairly sparse rotation. The Yankees currently have Masahiro Tanaka, Nathan Eovaldi, Luis Severino and Michael Pineda in the rotation, though there’s been talk of Severino needing additional time at Triple-A, and Pineda and Eovaldi have each struggled quite a bit as well. For the time being, right-hander Ivan Nova will transition from his long-relief role into the rotation. Nova has already made multiple four-inning appearances this season, and he has a lengthy background as a starter with the Yankees as well.
Coke, 33, signed a minor league deal with the Yankees a couple of weeks ago after a brief stop on the independent circuit last month. Pitching for the Atlantic League’s Lancaster BarnStormers, Coke tallied four innings and yielded a pair of earned runs on six hits and a walk with three strikeouts. He’s yet to allow an earned run in seven innings for the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate, where he’s surrendered just three hits and two walks with eight strikeouts. Coke has a 4.20 ERA with 7.0 K/9 against 3.3 BB/9 in 411 Major League innings, and opposing lefties have batted .245/.298/.356 against him in 816 plate appearances.