NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — There is just no way around it: The Yankees are going to need some help.
With Ivan Nova out for the rest of the season due to Tommy John surgery, Michael Pineda just now working his way back from injury with no guarantee that he’ll stay healthy the rest of the way and the revelation learned Monday that CC Sabathia may not be back until July due to his troublesome knee, the Yankees have to be thinking about acquiring someone sooner rather than later.
General manager Brian Cashman told the NY Post that Sabathia will in no way be ready any time soon, with early July as the wishful target date.
“It will be no sooner than six weeks from now,” Cashman said.
Sabathia received a stem cell injection in his right knee late last week from Dr. James Andrews. The Yankees were told if the procedure works it would take at least a month and a half before Sabathia could pitch again.
The Yankees have a half-game lead atop the AL East, and have been getting it done with just Japanese import Masahiro Tanaka and Hiroki Kuroda from the original five-man rotation. They have been doing the rest piecemeal, with right-hander David Phelps, rookie left-hander Vidal Nuno and, when necessary, a call-up like Chase Whitley last week against the Mets.
Cashman said the odds of pulling off a trade in mid-May are probably long, but he’s remaining proactive.
“Generally at this time of year, nothing materializes,” Cashman said. “We will keep an eye out to see if something does.”
Pineda was scheduled to throw a 25-pitch simulated game on Sunday, so it appears his return from a lat strain could happen soon, barring a setback. Cashman told the Post the second week of June is the target date for Pineda’s return.
But the Yankees spent nearly $500 million this offseason with the idea of challenging for a World Series title. So, it’s hard to believe they’ll sit still for too long minus two viable starters, while stretching their solid bullpen thin. Adam Warren, who has been stellar as the bridge to closer David Robertson, could be the next reliever turned on to start, Cashman said.
Manager Joe Girardi on Sunday acknowledged that Sabathia might need surgery someday on his right knee.
“I think you have to wait and see how all of this works,” said Girardi. “I think any time you deal with a degenerative knee issue, it usually gets to the point where usually you have to have something done, so we’ll have to see.”
Girardi had said he would be “kind of shocked” if Sabathia returned when he’s eligible to come off the disabled list on May 26, and now, with Cashman’s confirmation, we know the Yankees’ short-term plan to replace him will have to be amended.
“He is on crutches,” Girardi said. “It’s not because the knee is sore, they just don’t want him to put any weight on it. My guess is we’ll evaluate him Monday or Tuesday and see where he’s at and go from there.”
BELTRAN TO GET SECOND OPINION
Outfielder Carlos Beltran had a second cortisone shot this past weekend to try to ease the discomfort in his right elbow from a bone spur and will get a second opinion from Dr. Andrews on Tuesday.
Girardi said Beltran had planned on getting the second opinion but Andrews wasn’t available sooner.
“Players get second opinions and it’s their option,” Girardi said Sunday. “I’m not sure where he’s going after that.”
Girardi said Beltran was feeling “a little better” after being placed on the disabled list last week. The 37-year-old Beltran has said surgery could be an option if he can’t play through the pain.
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