While the New York Yankees survived without their staff ace for three weeks, it seems unlikely the Toronto Blue Jays can make a playoff push should their best slugger end up on the disabled list.
The Yankees will activate CC Sabathia from the disabled list and he'll take the ball Tuesday night looking to continue his dominance over a Blue Jays team that will be without Jose Bautista.Sabathia (9-3, 3.45 ERA) hasn't pitched since facing the New York Mets on June 24, going on the DL a few days later with a strained groin. His first trip to the DL since 2006 was tough to take for the six-time All-Star known for his durability."You feel like you're not contributing and helping the team," said Sabathia, who has thrown at least 230 innings in each of the last five seasons and is second in the majors with an average of 111.6 pitches per game. "For me it's a little embarrassing."The Yankees (55-34) did just fine in his absence, winning 12 of 18 and extending their AL East lead over second-place Baltimore from 2 1/2 games to nine. They won Monday's opener 6-3 on Raul Ibanez's tiebreaking grand slam with two outs in the eighth inning.Sabathia missed two scheduled starts while sidelined but kept his same between-start throwing routine. He said the pain in his groin has been nonexistent since a bullpen session June 26, and the time away might help his arm endurance down the stretch."I'm going to throw until they tell me to stop," he said.It is uncertain what kind of pitch count Joe Girardi will enforce in his return, but the Blue Jays (45-45) probably hope its low considering they haven't dealt Sabathia a loss since Sept. 4, 2006, while he played for Cleveland. In eight starts against Toronto since, he is 7-0 with a 2.73 ERA.Sabathia won't have to worry about facing Bautista -- not that those matchups have been much of a concern.Bautista, who is tied for second in the majors with 27 homers, left the opener in the eighth inning after injuring his wrist on a swing and will not play Tuesday. The Blue Jays said he didn't break a bone, but he has a tendon injury and will have an MRI on Tuesday to determine its severity."Through the course of completing the swing he felt a little bit of a popping sensation," manager John Farrell said.Toronto is two games out of the AL's second wild-card spot, and cannot afford to lose its most dangerous hitter for an extended time.His absence Tuesday, however, doesn't seem like it will be any particular advantage for Sabathia, considering Bautista is hitting .053 with eight strikeouts in 19 career at-bats against the lefty.Robinson Cano has experienced similar hitting woes against scheduled starter Brett Cecil (2-1, 6.75), but he enters this contest riding a career-best 19-game hitting streak.He had two hits Monday -- his third consecutive multihit game -- and is batting .413 with six homers, six doubles and 20 RBIs during his run. He is batting .118 (2 for 17) against Cecil since 2010 -- his lowest average of the 18 pitchers he has at least 14 at-bats against over that stretch.Cecil was knocked around for seven runs in 4 1/3 innings against the Chicago White Sox on July 8, but the Blue Jays still won 11-9. It was the second time in three starts the lefty yielded at least seven runs.This will be Cecil's first start of the season against the Yankees after going 0-2 with a 7.36 ERA in two starts against them last year.