CC Sabathia

New York Yankees trainer Steve Donohue, left, talks to New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia on the mound in the third inning before New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi removed Sabathia from the baseball game against the Cleveland Indians at Yankee Stadium in New York, Sunday, Aug. 23, 2015. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

CC Sabathia expected to return from disabled list on Wednesday

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It wasn’t too long ago that it looked like CC Sabathia could miss the rest of the season due to his arthritic right knee, but Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York reports that the veteran southpaw is on track to return from the disabled list Wednesday to start against the Orioles.

Sabathia, who has been out since August 23, said that he felt “great” after throwing 60 pitches over four innings in a simulated game Friday at Yankee Stadium. In an effort to stay on the field, he’s now wearing a brace on his knee as opposed to an athletic sleeve.

Whether Sabathia’s return will actually help the Yankees is another matter altogether. The 35-year-old has struggled with a 5.27 ERA over 24 starts this season while giving up 26 home runs in 138 1/3 innings. As was the plan prior to the knee injury, the Yankees plan to utilize a six-man rotation upon his return.

The Yankees intend to bring CC Sabathia back as a starting pitcher

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 23:  CC Sabathia #52 of the New York Yankees is taken out of the game in the third inning against the Cleveland Indians during their game at Yankee Stadium on August 23, 2015 in New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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CC Sabathia was shut down earlier this month due to an arthritic condition in his right knee, but he could still have a role in the Yankees’ rotation during the stretch run.

According to Meredith Marakovits of YES Network, Sabathia threw 30 pitches today in his first bullpen session since landing on the disabled list. The veteran southpaw slated to throw another one before facing live hitters. Assuming he makes it back to the Yankees this season, general manager Brian Cashman said that the plan is to use him as a starter as opposed to a reliever.

That’s not necessarily a good thing for the Yankees, who enter play tonight 1 1/2 games back of the Blue Jays for first place in the American League East. Sabathia, 35, has struggled to the tune of a 5.27 ERA over 24 starts this season. He has allowed 26 home runs in 138 1/3 innings.

Yankees shut down CC Sabathia with knee injury

New York Yankees trainer Steve Donohue, left, talks to New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia on the mound in the third inning before New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi removed Sabathia from the baseball game against the Cleveland Indians at Yankee Stadium in New York, Sunday, Aug. 23, 2015. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
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CC Sabathia exited Sunday’s start in the third inning with a knee injury and the Yankees have placed the struggling former Cy Young winner on the disabled list with inflammation.

When asked if Sabathia is expected to pitch for the Yankees again this season, manager Joe Girardi replied: “Is it possible that he doesn’t pitch the rest of the year? It’s a possibility.”

Sabathia has been a mess since 2013, posting a 5.01 ERA in 64 starts over that span while pitching through a degenerative knee condition that required surgery last July. This season he has a 5.27 ERA in 24 starts, striking out just 7.4 batters per nine innings while serving up 26 home runs.

Sabathia is owed $26 million in 2016, so the Yankees have incentive to keep showing patience with the 35-year-old left-hander, but there’s little reason for them to rush him back this season.