UPDATE: According to Jack Curry of YES Network, today’s bullpen session went off without a hitch. Sabathia is scheduled to throw another one Tuesday, but he was “emphatic” in saying he’ll return next Friday.
11:45 AM: CC Sabathia landed on the disabled list last week due to left elbow soreness, but he’s aiming to return as soon as he’s eligible next Friday against the Indians. He still has some hurdles to cross before being cleared to return, but the early signs are encouraging.
Sabathia threw off flat ground without incident for the second straight day yesterday. The big southpaw told WFAN’s Sweeney Murti that he’s scheduled to throw a bullpen session today for the first time since being placed on the disabled list. According to Steven Miller and Ethan Asofsky of MLB.com, Yankees manager Joe Girardi isn’t ready to commit to a specific date, but he expects him to return at some point next weekend.
“I haven’t really nailed down that that’s the date,” Girardi said. “We have to see how the bullpens go and how he feels. That way I have a little leeway for the second day or the third day [of the series against the Indians], whenever it is. Let’s just see how his bullpens go before I give an exact date.”
Sabathia, 32, is 12-3 with a 3.56 ERA and 140/35 K/BB ratio over 141 2/3 innings in 20 starts this season. He had a previous stint on the disabled list in late June due to a left groin strain.
The Yankees’ offense finally woke up, scoring eight runs in Game 3 of the ALCS on Monday night while the pitching kept the Astros’ offense at bay. That came after scoring a total of two runs against Astros pitching in the first two games. For a recap of the Yankees’ scoring in Game 3, click here.
CC Sabathia wasn’t dominant, but he executed pitches when he needed to most, preventing the Astros from capitalizing on their opportunities. Overall, he gave up three hits and four walks while striking out five on 99 pitches. He’s the first pitcher, age 37 or older, to throw six shutout innings in the postseason since Pedro Martinez for the Phillies against the Dodgers in Game 2 of the 2009 NLCS. Monday’s start also marked Sabathia’s first career scoreless outing in the postseason — it was his 22nd postseason appearance.
Astros starter Charlie Morton couldn’t escape the fourth inning, when he allowed a run and loaded the bases before departing. Will Harris allowed all three inherited runners to score on Aaron Judge‘s three-run home run to left field. Morton was ultimately charged with seven runs on six hits, two walks, and a hit batsman with three strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings.
The Yankees’ bullpen held the fort after the sixth. Adam Warren worked a scoreless seventh. Warren returned in the eighth and retired the side in order, despite yielding a pair of well-struck balls to deep center field.
In the ninth, Dellin Betances walked both hitters he faced to start the frame. Unsurprisingly, manager Joe Girardi had a short leash and brought in Tommy Kahnle. Kahnle gave up a single to Cameron Maybin then struck out George Springer, but walked Alex Bregman to force in a run. Kahnle got Jose Altuve to ground into a 4-3 double play to end the game in an 8-1 victory, giving the Yankees their first win of the series.
The ALCS continues on Tuesday at 5 PM ET. The Astros will start Lance McCullers and the Yankees will send Sonny Gray to the hill.