The Yankees have yet to formally announce their full roster for their upcoming Division Series matchup with the Twins, but manager Aaron Boone announced today that veteran left-hander CC Sabathia will not be a part of the mix (Twitter links via Meredith Marakovits and Jack Curry of the YES Network).
Sabathia has been dealing with a shoulder issue and underwent a cortisone injection, but he hasn’t bounced back to the point where the team considers him an option to this pont. He could potentially factor into the ALCS roster if the Yankees advance beyond the ALDS. With Sabathia off the roster, the Yankees will go to a rotation featuring James Paxton in Game 1, Masahiro Tanaka in Game 2 and Luis Severino in Game 3. They’ll rely on that trio and an exceptionally deep bullpen, which Boone says he’ll be “aggressive” in deploying.
A full roster won’t be released until the Yankees need to formally release it (tomorrow morning), though Boone also indicated that Edwin Encarnacion is “expected” to be on the roster. The slugger hasn’t appeared in a game since Sept. 12 thanks to an oblique injury, but he’s apparently made sufficient progress that he’ll be an option in the best-of-five series that’ll kick off at Yankee Stadium tomorrow evening.
Depending on how the postseason plays out, then, it’s possible that Sabathia’s scoreless outing of relief against the Rays on Sept. 24 — the lone relief appearance of his illustrious 19-year career — could mark the final time he ever sets foot on a Major League mound. Even if the Yankees do advance to the ALCS, there’s no guarantee that Sabathia would be a part of the team’s pitching staff for that best-of-seven series. And, obviously, if the Yankees’ season comes to an end within the next week, Sabathia will head into retirement and take his first official steps toward Cooperstown a bit sooner than he or the organization had hoped.