CC Sabathia struggled in his most recent minor league rehab start on Wednesday, but there was still reason to believe he could rejoin the Yankees' rotation around the All-Star break if he continued to make progress. That likely won't be happening now.
Sabathia woke up Thursday with fluid in his degenerative right knee and an MRI revealed renewed swelling. Yankees manager Joe Girardi told Daniel Barbarisi of the Wall Street Journal that he will go see Dr. James Andrews to determine the next step.
"We're waiting to see what the next step is," Girardi told Andrew Krammer of ESPN New York. "Can't tell you how long he's going to be shut down. He said nothing during the game about it, he woke up today, and that's the report I got. Today it was swollen, similar to what he's experienced before."
That's not a good sign. Sabathia struggled to the tune of a 5.28 ERA across eight starts prior to landing on the disabled list nearly two months ago. The 33-year-old left-hander received a cortisone shot to relieve the pain and swelling and underwent stem-cell treatment to rejuvenate some cartilage in the knee, but now he might be forced to go back to the drawing board. As for the Yankees, any delay will likely increase the chances of GM Brian Cashman adding a starter via trade as July 31 approaches.
It's time for us all to accept the fact that Steve Pearce is the best hitter on the planet. OK, maybe that's hyperbole. But it sure feels that way recently.
Pearce had another monster game Thursday, going 4-for-5 with two doubles, two RBI, and two stolen bases in a win over the Rangers. The four hits were a career-high. He now has 31 hits in his last 81 at-bats, good enough for a robust .383 clip. The 31-year-old owns a surprising .338/.397/.618 batting line through 48 games this season to go along with 10 home runs and 29 RBI. Meanwhile, his 1.014 OPS is fourth among players with at least 150 plate appearances.
It's easy to forget this, but Pearce was designated for assignment by the Orioles in April. Now he's a lineup staple and one of the hottest hitters in the game. He entered this season with a .238/.318/.377 batting line over 847 plate appearances in the majors, so there is obvious reason for skepticism given the small sample involved this year, but his line drive rate is higher than ever and he has an increased fly ball rate to go along with the power surge. I wouldn't necessarily bank on long-term success, but he's worth a shot if you're hurting for CI (corner infielder) or outfield help. Pearce is available in two-thirds of Yahoo leagues at the moment.
CarGo Return Imminent?
Those who invested a first-round pick in Carlos Gonzalez on draft day this spring will be happy to hear this little tidbit. According to Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post, Gonzalez said Thursday that he thinks he can rejoin the Rockies before the All-Star break.
Gonzalez underwent surgery last month to remove a small benign tumor from his left index finger. He took batting practice in the cage on Thursday and felt only mild discomfort in his hand, so the next step could be regular batting practice and live pitching. He'd go out on a minor league rehab assignment from there, which could potentially put him on track to return next Friday against the Twins. If the Rockies opt to play it safe and give him some extra time, he could be activated for the start of the second half on July 18 against the Pirates. Either way, he's getting closer.
Gonzalez simply wasn't his normal self prior to the procedure, batting just .255/.307/.449 with eight home runs, 31 RBI, and two stolen bases over 52 games. There's reason for optimism now that the finger issue has been taken care of, but the lengthy absence has also allowed him to rest and receive treatment for tendinitis in his left knee.
AL Quick Hits: Masahiro Tanaka notched his MLB-leading 12th win on Thursday vs. the Twins, but gave up a career-high four earned runs over seven innings and saw his quality start streak end at 16 starts … Miguel Cabrera went 3-for-4 with a walk and four runs scored Thursday vs. the Rays … Yu Darvish was scratched from Thursday's start against the Orioles due to bad weather in the forecast and will start on Friday against the Mets instead … Victor Martinez (rib cage) went 2-for-3 with a homer and a walk in his return to action Thursday against the Rays … Josh Donaldson sat out his second straight game Thursday due to back stiffness … Max Scherzer struck out seven batters over eight innings of one-run ball in a win over the Rays on Thursday … Sonny Gray yielded one run over seven innings in a win over the Blue Jays on Thursday … Mark Teixeira (knee) went 2-for-4 with a run scored in his return to action Thursday … Colby Rasmus sat out Thursday's game with a jammed right wrist and is considered day-to-day … The Yankees demoted early-season sensation Yangervis Solarte on Thursday and called up infielder Zelous Wheeler, who homered and singled in his major league debut against the Twins … The Athletics designated left-hander Jeff Francis for assignment on Thursday and activated left-handed reliever Eric O'Flaherty, who is making his return from Tommy John surgery … Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles are trying to work out a trade involving Nolan Reimold, who was designated for assignment earlier this week … Jose Altuve went 3-for-5 for the Astros with a double and a run scored ...
NL Quick Hits: Hanley Ramirez (calf) went 0-for-2 with two walks in his return to the starting lineup Thursday. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said before the game that he plans to take it easy with him going into the All-Star break …Madison Bumgarner yielded five runs -- four earned -- over five innings Thursday in a loss to the Cardinals … Zack Greinke allowed two runs (one earned) in eight innings with eight strikeouts in a win over the Rockies on Thursday … Francisco Liriano (oblique) will begin a minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Indianapolis on Monday … Nolan Arenado (finger) went 0-for-4 with a strikeout in his return from the disabled list Thursday … Jhonny Peralta singled and launched a two-run homer Thursday against the Giants … Carlos Martinez notched six strikeouts over five innings of one-run ball in a win over the Giants on Thursday … Ben Revere went 2-for-5 with a stolen base and a run scored Thursday against the Marlins … Domonic Brown will be activated from the paternity leave list on Friday … David Peralta went 3-for-5 with a home run, four RBI, and two runs scored in Thursday's win over the Pirates … Marco Scutaro (back) could move his minor league rehab assignment up to Triple-A Fresno on Sunday … The Rockies will call up the newly-acquired Jair Jurrjens to start Friday against the Dodgers …