Joe Girardi says struggling CC Sabathia will stay in the Yankees’ rotation

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Ivan Nova’s return from Tommy John elbow surgery means the Yankees now have six starters and five rotation spots. In the short term they’re going to a six-man rotation, but once they resume a five-man alignment someone has to go.

And according to manager Joe Girardi it won’t be CC Sabathia despite the former Cy Young winner’s ugly 3-7 record and 5.65 ERA in 15 starts, which includes a league-high 55 earned runs and a league-high 17 home runs allowed in 88 innings.

Sabathia failed to make it out of the fifth inning Tuesday against the light-hitting Phillies, after which Girardi was asked about the 35-year-old left-hander’s job security and said:

He is a starter for us. That’s what he is and that’s what we are paying him to do and that is what he is going to do. … He’ll keep working at it. We’ll keep working at it. He’ll still compete. We need him to do his job.

Girardi’s “that’s what we are paying him to do” quote is especially key, because Sabathia is making $25 million this season with another $25 million due next year and a $25 million vesting option or $5 million buyout for 2017.

Sabathia’s track record and contract have kept him from losing a starting job already, because dating back to 2013 he’s started 55 games with a 5.07 ERA and 55 homers allowed. Instead when the Yankees bump someone from the rotation it’ll likely be Adam Warren or Nathan Eovaldi.

Video: Edwin Encarnación grounds into 5-4-3 triple play

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The Yankees threatened early against the Twins in the top of the first inning of Monday night’s game in Minnesota. DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Judge drew leadoff walks Martín Pérez, bringing up slugger Edwin Encarnación. Encarnación battled Pérez, ultimately rolling over on the ninth pitch, a change-up. Third baseman Luis Arraez gobbled it up and stepped on the third base bag, then fired to Jonathan Schoop at second base for the second out. Schoop got the ball over to Miguel Sanó at first base just in time to complete the 5-4-3 triple play.

It’s the second triple play turned this year, as the White Sox also accomplished a 5-4-3 double play on May 22 against the Astros. The Twins’ last triple play occurred on June 1, 2017 against the Angels, also a 5-4-3 triple-killing.

The Yankees were eventually able to generate some offense in the third inning on a Gio Urshela solo homer and an RBI single from Encarnación. It’s a 2-2 game as this gets published.