7/19/2014 5:57 P.M. ET
CC relieved to be avoiding microfracture surgery
By Bryan Hoch, Jake Kring-Schreifels and Jamal Collier / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- CC Sabathia is disappointed to know for sure that his season is over, but the Yankees left-hander said on Saturday that he is relieved to be avoiding microfracture surgery, which could have put his career in jeopardy.
Sabathia is scheduled to have an arthroscopic debridement performed on Wednesday, cleaning out his right knee. Sabathia said that Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who will perform the surgery, is confident that the hurler will be able to be on the mound by Spring Training.
"He feels good about it and I do, too," Sabathia said. "[NBA star] Russell Westbrook had the same surgery and was able to come back and be fine. Obviously, you have to deal with a little bit of swelling here and there, but that's something I have to deal with.
"My goal was to pitch the next five or six years past this contract and to be able to go out and do that. I'm confident I'm going to be able to do that."
Sabathia, who turns 34 on Monday, has not pitched in the big leagues since May 10, when he started against the Brewers at Miller Park and experienced swelling in his right knee. An MRI showed what the team called "degenerative changes" in the knee.
He was 3-4 with a 5.28 ERA this season and attempted to rehab with the aid of a stem cell injection, but experienced more knee issues after making a Minor League start for Double-A Trenton on July 2.
"I felt like I was on the right path," Sabathia said. "Waking up that night after, it just didn't make sense. I couldn't even come in here and get my workout in and do the stuff that I wanted to do."
Because of the wear and tear on his knee, there is a possibility that Sabathia will need to have additional arthroscopic procedures down the line. He said that would still be preferable to microfracture surgery, which has produced inconsistent results with athletes.
"It's something that I'm going to have to deal with probably for the rest of my life and eventually have a big surgery," Sabathia said. "Right now, the goal is to keep playing and this is the easiest way to do it."
Sabathia said that he should be able to resume activities six to eight weeks after the surgery, but he will be an idle observer as the Yankees fight to claim a postseason spot in the second half.
"It's not fun, especially the way these guys have been grinding, and wanting to be a part of it," Sabathia said. "I've been doing everything I can to get back out on the field. It's just unfortunate.
"It's something I've never had to deal with, but I am now. Hopefully, this will give me the time to get healthy and come back to be ready to go in Spring Training."
Girardi wary of overusing bullpen in second half
NEW YORK -- David Phelps threw 6 1/3 innings, Dellin Betances followed to record five outs, and David Robertson finished the final frame Friday night against the Reds in a 4-3 victory.
That's the ideal blueprint for what the Yankees want from their starters and how they use their bullpen. But with the well-known injuries to the rotation, manager Joe Girardi knows that any early deficiencies from his new cast of starters will mean more work for his relievers.
"I think we've asked a lot of them to begin with," said Girardi. "But I still think you have to, at times, protect them as well."
He's also cognizant of the potential to wear them out in the second half of the season.
"There's two things that can happen if you overuse them. Worst-case scenario is that people can get hurt. The second worst-case scenario is they become ineffective or exhausted, and that doesn't help you either," said Girardi. "There are days, and I've said this, sometimes a starter might have to go a little bit longer and give the bullpen a rest in this situation, and it may seem ugly at times, but you can't wear these guys out or hurt them."
It will assuredly be easier to manage his bullpen when starters go deeper into games, but getting even production from all relievers will also ease the burden. Undoubtedly, relievers like Betances and Adam Warren, who can throw multiple innings if necessary, will be luxuries when called on to clean up a middle-inning mess.
"If they get to the bullpen earlier, if they have to ... we have a lot of guys who can do a lot of different things," said Warren. "So having the versatility to throw multiple innings ... makes it so if we have to, we can throw more innings if we start in the fifth or sixth inning."
The bullpen's flexibility should help spell a reliever like Betances, who is likely unavailable Saturday after throwing nearly two innings in Friday night's victory.
"You might have another guy step up today and do the same thing," said Warren. "You kind of just interchange like that and [it] might help keep the bullpen fresh."
Yanks sign 26 Draft picks, but not Mariano's son
NEW YORK -- The Yankees reached agreements with each of their top 15 choices from the 2014 First-Year Player Draft, including their top selection, left-hander Jacob Lindgren, and signed 26 of their 39 Draft choices overall.
The team did not reach an agreement with right-hander Mariano Rivera Jr., a 29th-round Draft pick and the son of the former Yankees closer. Rivera, who was 2-6 with a 5.40 ERA in 13 games as a sophomore at Iona College, is expected to go back to school for his junior season.
"He just wanted to continue where he's at currently," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told Newsday. "It's not something that he wants to pursue just yet. I think Mariano and the family feel like some more seasoning in the college ranks will benefit him more."
The Yankees also announced the signings of 10 post-Draft free agents: catcher KJ Alexander (Dallas Baptist University); left-hander Jonny Drozd (Texas Tech University); catcher Jake Hernandez (University of Southern California); right-hander Travis Hissong (Wright State University); outfielder Adam Kirsch (Texas Tech University); right-hander Deshorn Lake (University of Mount Olive); right-hander Matt Marsh (Liberty University); right-hander Michael Noteware (Lewis-Clark State College) and infielder Tyler Palmer (Thomas University).
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. Jake Kring-Schreifels and Jamal Collier are associate reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.