CC Sabathia returns to the mound tonight to face his former team, the Cleveland Indians, after a 15-day trip to the DL. (Image: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE)

Yankees Injury News: CC back, Nova out and Andy progressing

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The New York Yankees started off the most important quarter of their season with a sluggish performance against the Chicago White Sox. The three-game slide came at the heels of a stretch of playing twenty straight days, which would be hard for any team, let alone one filled with veterans and let’s face it, older players. The team looks to begin anew and does so with their ace CC Sabathia returning from the disabled list to face the team he came up to the big leagues with, the Cleveland Indians.

Sabathia is one of the most important players for the Yankees down the stretch and in the postseason should they reach it. It’s amazing to even suggest that they may not hold onto their lead in the division which once stood at 10 games. But that is where they find themselves as the lead has been chopped down to just 2.5 over the Tampa Bay Rays, who won again last night, shutting out the Oakland A’s 5-0.

Sabathia has been on the DL twice now this season after going almost six seasons without a stint. His most recent injury is concerning because it had to do with his very valuable left elbow. If the Yankees have a chance of winning the American League East for the second straight season, they’ll need Sabathia to be at his best and the workhorse he’s been over his career. Anything less could spell a short-lived playoff experience.

Nova to DL with rotator cuff inflammation

Ivan Nova has been diagnosed with an inflamed right rotator cuff and the Yankees have placed him on the 15-day disabled list to allow for complete rest. Nova first complained of the injury during his most recent disappointing appearance on Tuesday when he allowed six runs in six innings against the White Sox.

Nova will not be allowed to throw for at least five days. Nova has struggled since July with consistency and has been hammered in half of his last eight outings. While he just mentioned the injury, there is no telling how long he may have been feeling discomfort. The good news for Nova is that it is just inflammation, so the rest and medicine should do him some good. Maybe the time off the field will help clear his head a bit too.

Pettitte has strong session on flat ground

As Sabathia walks up a mound tonight, Andy Pettitte is slowing approaching his chance to do the same after throwing on flat ground in a session on Wednesday. He tossed approximately 55 pitches, but was not throwing at 100%.

“I don’t think they’re going to let me get on a mound yet,” Pettitte said. “I think probably just a little bit more pushing off, a few more pitches and stuff like that.”

Pettitte is expected to throw again tomorrow, but he and the Yankees are remaining cautious especially since he has had one setback already for pushing too hard. The team can only benefit from having Pettitte on the roster at 100% and if it takes until mid-September for that to happen then they’ll just have to wait it out.

Pettitte’s return is another crucial piece to any success the Yankees vision in the playoffs. Besides Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda, the rest of the rotation has its questions.

Noteworthy
  • Nova’s trip to the DL may have saved Joba Chamberlain a demotion. Chamberlain is sporting a 9.45 ERA and batters are hitting a whopping .455 against him in seven appearances since his return.
  • Lefty reliever Pedro Feliciano made his fourth rehab appearance on Wednesday for the Gulf Coast League Yankees. He has thrown four innings of scoreless ball allowing two hits and one walk while striking out five. His return to the big leagues after missing all of 2011 with a tear in his left shoulder capsule looks to be part of September call-ups.
  • Before Robinson Cano‘s 2-for-4 effort on Wednesday night, he was stuck in a 2-for-25 slide.
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