C.C. Sabathia’s longstanding right knee problems reared their head again Friday, when the southpaw exited after just three innings in a loss to the Athletics. The Yankees announced that Sabathia departed with knee discomfort, and the 39-year-old was “dejected” afterward, according to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com. Sabathia still hopes to pitch again this season, though, and will have his knee drained and potentially undergo a cortisone shot in hopes of making a quick recovery, Feinsand reports.
There is plenty at stake for Sabathia as the season winds down. The possible Hall of Famer’s set to retire at the end of the campaign, for one, so he obviously doesn’t want his illustrious career to conclude with an injury. Beyond that, Sabathia’s aiming to help pitch the Yankees to a World Series title, which would be their second since they inked him to a mega-deal as a free agent heading into the 2009 season.
As great as Sabathia has been during his Yankees tenure, it no longer looks as if the longtime workhorse has much left in the tank. Sabathia’s knee, on which he has undergone surgery multiple times, has already forced him to the IL on three occasions this year. When he has taken the mound, Sabathia has had difficulty going deep into games, having amassed 100 1/3 innings over 20 starts. Sabathia has also had uncharacteristic trouble preventing runs. He owns a below-average 4.93 ERA/5.96 FIP – both of which represent massive steps backward relative to his career and the numbers he put up just a year ago (3.65/4.16).
Of course, Sabathia’s hardly the lone member of New York’s starting staff who has come up shy of expectations in 2019. With the exception of Domingo German, the same also applies to every other regular starter the Yankees have run out (Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton and J.A. Happ). Because of the vulnerability of the Yankees’ rotation, there’s skepticism regarding their chances of hoisting the Commissioner’s Trophy in a couple months and sending Sabathia out on a high note.