Veteran lefty CC Sabathia gave Yankees fans some cause for concern when he underwent an angioplasty last month, but the team announced today that followup exams of Sabathia went well. Per the Yankees’ release, Sabathia “has now been cleared to begin working out, which will include baseball activities.”
Sabathia, 38, re-signed with the Yankees on a one-year, $8MM contract early in the offseason, agreeing to return to the Bronx for what will be the final season of his illustrious career. The prognosis at the time of his procedure was reportedly “excellent,” and the quick clearance for Sabathia to resume working out and performing baseball activities speaks to that. In all likelihood, then, the left-hander should be up to speed for Spring Training and on schedule for the Opening Day roster.
Recently, the bit of uncertainty surrounding Sabathia was cited by Yankees general manager Brian Cashman as a consideration as he mulls trade offers for right-hander Sonny Gray. Cashman told reporters over the weekend that Sabathia’s situation “has given us pause,” suggesting that he’s at least considered holding Gray into the season. Of course, the Yankees have plenty of other depth options behind Luis Severino, James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka and J.A. Happ even if Gray is traded. Domingo German, Jonathan Loaisiga, Chance Adams and Luis Cessa all started games for the Yankees last season, and lefty Jordan Montgomery could return from Tommy John surgery at some point late in the summer.
Regardless of its impact on any future Yankees maneuverings, the Sabathia update is a welcome one for the Yankees. While the former AL Cy Young winner clearly isn’t the ace he was at his peak, Sabathia has nonetheless recorded three straight seasons of sub-4.00 ERA ball with the Yankees. From 2016-18, he pitched to a 3.76 ERA with 7.7 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 481 1/3 innings — with last year’s 3.65 ERA, 4.16 FIP, 8.2 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 all being his best marks in that three-year stretch.