Just as CC Sabathia was beginning to look like an ace again, he suffered an injury that forced the New York Yankees to place him on the disabled list.
On Thursday, the Yankees placed Sabathia on the 10-day disabled list. He left his start on Tuesday night in Anaheim against the Los Angeles Angels after suffering an injury to his left hamstring. After undergoing an MRI on Wednesday, it was revealed that Sabathia has a Grade 2 strain of his left hamstring.
Although Yankees general manager Brian Cashman decided to place Sabathia on the 10-day disabled list, there is a good chance that he will be sidelined for longer than that. He will reportedly be out for at least four weeks.
This injury is definitely a major blow to the Yankees starting rotation. The 36-year-old left-hander has been one of their best starters this season. Over his last six starts, Sabathia has an ERA of 0.99. In 13 starts this season, he is 7-2 with a 3.46 ERA.
Sabathia’s career appeared to be going downhill a few years ago. The 2014 season was a very rough one for him. Sabathia got off to a bad start and then started having problems with his right knee. He was placed on the disabled list and eventually had to undergo season-ending surgery on his knee. Before getting hurt, Sabathia made eight starts and went 3-4 with an ERA of 5.28.
Unfortunately, Sabathia was unable to bounce back the following season. He had perhaps the worst year of his career in 2015, going 6-10 with a 4.73 ERA in 29 starts.
The past few seasons, Sabathia has been able to reinvent himself as a pitcher. He does not throw as hard as he used to. However, he has still been able to get hitters out. This is evident in how he has performed over the past two seasons. In 2016, Sabathia posted an ERA of 3.91 over 30 starts. He only recorded 152 strikeouts in 179.2 innings pitched. This season, he only has 62 strikeouts over 75.1 innings pitched. The decrease in his velocity has predictably resulted in less strikeouts, but this has not been a problem for him.
Without Sabathia, the Yankees will have to rely even more on young right-hander Luis Severino, who is having a Cy Young caliber season. Severino is 5-2 with a 2.75 ERA in 12 starts this year. Additionally, the team will have to hope that Masahiro Tanaka starts to turn things around. Tanaka, who is supposed to be the Yankees ace, has had a disastrous season. He has an ERA of 6.07 over 13 starts.
It is unfortunate for the Yankees that Sabathia got injured, especially considering how well he has been pitching lately. He should be able to recover and be back in about a month. When he returns, it will be interesting to see if he is as effective as he was before the injury.