- Andrew Marchand, ESPNNewYork.com
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NEW YORK -- Yankees ace CC Sabathia is heading to the disabled list with a strained muscle in his left leg. The left-hander will be out until after the All-Star break, but manager Joe Girardi said that if all goes right, Sabathia will only miss two turns in the rotation.
Sabathia did not want to go on the DL, but Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told him during a Wednesday morning meeting that the club would not take any chances with his health.
"Better safe than sorry," Cashman said.
In Sabathia's place, minor leaguer Adam Warren will start on Friday against the Chicago White Sox. Girardi had planned on using Freddy Garcia on Friday, but since he needed Garcia to pitch 2 1/3 innings of relief in Wednesday's win over the Indians, Garcia will now start Monday in Tampa.
The Yankees were forced to use Garcia after Andy Pettitte was forced to leave the Wednesday's game. Pettitte suffered a broken ankle and is expected to miss at least six weeks, meaning the Yankees have two holes to fill in the rotation.
Although Major League Baseball's non-waiver trade deadline is just more than one month away, the Yankees will look to handle the losses of Pettitte and Sabathia from within, sources told ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney.
Garcia has been pitching as a long man since being bounced from the rotation after four early-season starts.
Girardi said the strain is in Sabathia's adductor muscle, which is located in the inner thigh near the groin. Doctors classified the injury as a Grade 1 strain, according to Girardi.
Sabathia originally felt pain in the leg during the fourth inning of his start Sunday night against the New York Mets. Sabathia did not tell anyone with the Yankees about the injury until it lingered during a bullpen session on Tuesday.
"I probably made it a little worse," Sabathia said.
The Yankees sent Sabathia for an MRI on Tuesday night to check out the severity of the injury. Cashman believes Sabathia would be able to pitch with the pain if the team was in the stretch run, but at this point in the season, the Yankees are playing it safe despite the pitcher's reluctance to be disabled.
"You have to protect players from themselves," Cashman said.
Sabathia admitted he tried to talk Cashman out of putting him on the DL.
Cashman said that when Sabathia does return after the break, he likely will start in the back of the rotation to give him a few extra days of rest. Girardi said he has been assured that the more than two weeks of rest will take care of the injury.
Sabathia was scheduled to start Friday and Wednesday in Tampa, Fla., before the break. He was set to miss the final series of the first half against the Red Sox. The Yankees considered pushing back Sabathia's next start instead of putting him on the DL, but ultimately deemed that too risky.
"Our thought is you are maybe risking him seven or eight starts, if he hurts it worse," Girardi said.
Sabathia is 9-3 with a 3.45 ERA.
"There is no doubt we are going to miss him," Girardi said of Sabathia. "We have a pretty experienced club. We lost the greatest closer of all time. We were able to respond. We lost our setup guy, and we were able to respond. We were without Alex [Rodriguez] for the first couple of months a couple of years ago, and we were able to get through that. We just have to fight through it. Our belief is it is only going to be two starts."
Depending on how Garcia and Warren pitch, David Phelps could be a candidate to fill in for the second start Sabathia would have gotten. The Yankees recently sent Phelps down to get his pitch count up in case he was needed to start. Phelps was 1-2 with a 2.94 ERA, mostly as the team's long reliever, before being sent down.