While the New York Yankees survived without their ace pitcher for three weeks, the Toronto Blue Jays may have a tough time making a playoff push with their best slugger on the disabled list.
The Yankees will activate CC Sabathia from the DL and he'll take the ball Tuesday night looking to continue his dominance over a Blue Jays team that will be without Jose Bautista .
Sabathia (9-3, 3.45 ERA) hasn't pitched since facing the New York Mets on June 24, going on the DL a few days later with a strained groin. His first trip to the DL since 2006 was tough to take for the six-time All-Star known for his durability."You feel like you're not contributing and helping the team," said Sabathia, who has thrown at least 230 innings in each of the last five seasons and is second in the majors with an average of 111.6 pitches per game. "For me it's a little embarrassing."
The Yankees (55-34) did just fine in his absence, winning 12 of 18 and extending their AL East lead over Baltimore from 2 1/2 games to nine. They won Monday's series opener 6-3 on Raul Ibanez 's tiebreaking grand slam with two outs in the eighth inning.
Sabathia missed two starts while sidelined but kept his same between-start throwing routine. He said the pain in his groin has been nonexistent since a bullpen session June 26, and the time away might help his endurance down the stretch."I'm going to throw until they tell me to stop," he said.
It is uncertain what kind of pitch count Joe Girardi will enforce in his return, but the Blue Jays (45-45) probably hope it's low considering the left-hander has gone 7-0 with a 2.73 ERA in his last eight starts against them. Sabathia's last loss to Toronto came Sept. 4, 2006, while with Cleveland.
Sabathia won't have to worry about facing Bautista - not that those matchups have been much of a concern for the Yankees' top starter.
Bautista, tied for second in the majors with 27 homers, left the opener in the eighth inning after injuring his wrist on a swing. He was diagnosed with inflammation in the area and was placed on the 15-disabled list, with no timetable for his return.
The Jays called up outfielder Anthony Gose , who played in the Futures Game for top prospects last week, from Triple-A Las Vegas.
Toronto, two games out of the second AL wild-card spot, can't afford to lose its most dangerous hitter for an extended time, but Bautista's absence may not have made much of a difference Tuesday. He is hitting .053 with eight strikeouts in 19 career at-bats against Sabathia.
Cano had two hits Monday for his third consecutive multihit game and is batting .413 with six homers, six doubles and 20 RBIs during the run. He has gone 2 for 17 against Cecil since the start of 2010 - his lowest average versus the 18 pitchers he has at least 14 at-bats against in that stretch.
Cecil was knocked around for seven runs in 4 1-3 innings against the Chicago White Sox on July 8, but the Blue Jays won 11-9. It was the second time in three starts the left-hander yielded at least seven runs.
This will be Cecil's first start of the season versus the Yankees after going 0-2 with a 7.36 ERA in two starts against them last year.
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|July 16, 2012||Jose Bautista||Day-to-Day||Left game - Left wrist injury|
|July 09, 2012||Luis Perez||Day-to-Day||Torn ligament in left elbow|
|July 09, 2012||Luis Perez||60-Day DL||Torn ligament in left elbow|
|July 07, 2012||Brett Lawrie||Day-to-Day||Left game - lower back tightness|
|June 25, 2012||Robert Coello||15-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
|June 16, 2012||Drew Hutchison||60-Day DL||Right UCL sprain|
|New York Yankees|
|June 28, 2012||Andy Pettitte||60-Day DL||Fractured left ankle - out 6-8 weeks|
|June 27, 2012||Andy Pettitte||Day-to-Day||Fractured left ankle - out 6-8 weeks|
|June 25, 2012||CC Sabathia||15-Day DL||Left groin strain|
|June 16, 2012||Nick Swisher||Day-to-Day||Left game - Left quad contusion|
|June 04, 2012||Kosuke Fukudome||15-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
|May 14, 2012||David Robertson||15-Day DL||Left oblique strain|
NEW YORK (AP) -- Nobody warms to a heat wave more than CC Sabathia.
Pitching on a 95-degree night in New York, the burly left-hander carried a shutout into the seventh inning during his sparkling return from the disabled list and the steamrolling Yankees got an early three-run homer from Andruw Jones in a 6-1 victory Tuesday over the Toronto Blue Jays.
"I love it," Sabathia said about the sweltering temperature. "My arm feels good when it's warm."
Sidelined since June 24 because of a groin strain, Sabathia (10-3) silenced a Blue Jays lineup minus Jose Bautista . The All-Star slugger was placed on the 15-day disabled list earlier in the day.
"They have a good lineup," Sabathia said, "with or without him."
Hard to tell when they face Sabathia. The 2007 AL Cy Young Award winner improved to 13-3 against Toronto, including 8-0 with a 2.49 ERA in nine starts since the beginning of the 2007 season.
The good news for Bautista and the Blue Jays is that the wrist injury he sustained Monday isn't as severe as initially feared, so he hopes to be back before long.
"That's a pretty big void anytime you lose a guy like that, so we'll adjust along the way and continue to put up a good game plan," Toronto manager John Farrell said.
The first-place Yankees hardly missed a beat without Sabathia, going 12-6 while their ace was out and extending their AL East lead to a season-high nine games heading into Tuesday. He went on the DL the same day fellow starter Andy Pettitte broke his ankle, but New York just keeps rolling right along.
"It was tough sitting here and watching your teammates go out and battle every day," Sabathia said. "It feels good to come back and be a part of it."
Jayson Nix had three hits in a rare start at third base and Derek Jeter dumped an RBI double inside the right-field line during a three-run seventh that gave the Yankees breathing room. Chris Stewart also had a run-scoring double in a rally that was aided by some shoddy play in the corners by Blue Jays outfielders.
"I think I have a really good bench that can be extremely productive for us," New York manager Joe Girardi said. "It's been really helpful."
Girardi was a little concerned Sabathia might feel too strong after his three-week layoff. But the six-time All-Star flashed a sharp slider and permitted only four hits in six-plus innings. He struck out six and walked one, working around a leadoff double in the second.
"I wasn't expecting as much velocity as he had tonight," said Stewart, who has been catching Sabathia regularly. "I'm glad we have him back."
The 290-pound Sabathia threw 66 of 87 pitches for strikes and walked off to a rousing ovation after Adam Lind 's leadoff single in the seventh. Five relievers finished up, with Chad Qualls allowing Colby Rasmus ' sacrifice fly in the eighth.
Girardi thinks the injury break will benefit Sabathia in the long run this season.
"CC likes the heat," the manager said. "Can't say that I ever did, but CC really enjoys it."
Rafael Soriano entered with the bases loaded and earned his 24th save in 25 attempts when pinch-hitter J.P. Arencibia lined into a game-ending double play.
The runner doubled off first base to end it was speedy prospect Anthony Gose , just called up from Triple-A Las Vegas to fill Bautista's roster spot. Gose made his big league debut as a pinch-hitter in the seventh and got his first career hit on a bunt single back to the mound in the ninth.
New York (56-34) has won eight of 10 to move a season-best 22 games over .500, the best record in the majors. The Yankees are 35-13 since May 22, including 17-6 at home. They improved to 10-2-1 in their last 13 series.
"We've been doing a little bit of everything," Jeter said. "We've got a pretty good combination of things going right now."
Sabathia's successful return overshadowed an encouraging outing by Brett Cecil (2-2), who entered with a 6.75 ERA in five major league starts this year. The 26-year-old lefty, demoted to Double-A New Hampshire at the beginning of the season, held the powerful Yankees in check for six innings and retired his final eight batters. He struck out five and walked two.
"I felt really good about it," Cecil said. "It was just one pitch."
Robinson Cano extended his hitting streak to a career-best 20 games with a leadoff single in the second. Nick Swisher walked and Jones pulled a drive into the left-field corner for his 12th homer.
It was New York's 145th home run, most in the majors. The bottom three hitters in the Yankees' lineup combined for five hits and four RBIs.
NOTES: Girardi did not rule out the possibility of closer Mariano Rivera (knee surgery) returning before the season ends. "He didn't say he was definitely going to make it back," Girardi said. "He's trying, and my anticipation is it's going to be very difficult because it's a short period of time. But we'll see what happens." ... LF Brett Gardner had an MRI after a third setback in his recovery from a strained right elbow that has sidelined him since April 18. Yankees physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad will consult on the results with Dr. James Andrews and Reds medical director Dr. Timothy Kremchek. ... Bautista is 1 for 19 against Sabathia. ... Ben Francisco started in RF for the Blue Jays in place of Bautista. Gose, a left-handed hitter, was expected to start Wednesday against RHP Hiroki Kuroda .