CC Sabathia declares himself ready

Updated: August 22, 2012, 2:37 AM ET
By Wallace Matthews | ESPNNewYork.com

New York Yankees ace CC Sabathia threw what he called a "normal between-starts bullpen session" Tuesday and declared himself ready to go on Friday against the Indians in Cleveland, a day after he is eligible to come off the disabled list.

But manager Joe Girardi, who ostensibly has the final say on the matter, would only go this far: "It's possible.''

Both agree that Sabathia did well Tuesday afternoon, throwing 38 pitches and emerging pain-free after going on the DL Aug. 9 with soreness and stiffness in his pitching elbow. The disagreement stems from Girardi's insistence on being sure Sabathia comes out of the bullpen session in good shape.

"Ask Joe, but I'm pretty sure that I'm pitching on Friday," Sabathia said. "I threw all my pitches today and I feel pretty good, so we'll just go from there."

"We've got to see how he comes out the next two days,'' Girardi said. "If he comes out OK tomorrow, it's pretty likely he's going to be our starter on Friday.''

Sabathia first felt the soreness during a complete game victory over the Seattle Mariners on Aug. 3 at Yankee Stadium. It recurred five days later against the Tigers in Detroit, a game Sabathia exited unusually early, after 6 2/3 innings and only 94 pitches. Three days later, the Yankees put him on the DL retroactive to Aug. 9.

The 32-year-old Sabathia, who has averaged more than 230 innings in each of the past five seasons, said he believed the injury was the result of "normal wear and tear.'' He said he did not anticipate being on a pitch limit if Girardi sends him out on Friday.

"I threw everything today and I felt real good, so I don't see any reason why I would go out and be limited,'' he said. "We'll see. As long as I'm out there Friday, I don't care."

Sabathia said he would follow his customary between-starts routine the next couple of days -- playing catch -- in anticipation of starting the series opener Friday night.

"I guess it's just up to the way I feel," he said. "I don't anticipate feeling any soreness or anything in there that wouldn't let me pitch on Friday."

In addition, Sabathia said he is preparing arguments to present to the manager in the event Girardi decides to play it safe.

"I've got some stuff in my back pocket,'' he said. "Hopefully I won't have to use it."

Meanwhile, left-hander Andy Pettitte will throw off flat ground Wednesday as he recovers from a broken left ankle. He is working on pushing off his left leg.

Pettitte said he expects to return before the end of the regular season, but rehab could get tricky with minor league seasons ending soon.

"I've been trying to take it slow," Pettitte said. "They've set up somewhat of a plan for me and we're trying to follow that."

Both Pettitte and Girardi acknowledged that he could end up throwing simulated games while remaining with the big league team.

"If that's what we have to do, that's what we have to do," Girardi said. "By then we should have a few extra hitters here."

Pettitte has been sidelined since late June. He is 3-3 with a 3.22 ERA after signing a minor league contract in March. He made 21 starts for New York in 2010 and did not pitch in 2011.

The 40-year-old, who has 243 career victories in 17 major League seasons and another 19 wins in the postseason, said it was too early to think about whether he will pitch in 2013.

"I'll go home, and again, talk to my family about it, pray about it and really just do what I feel like is the right thing to do," Pettitte said. "I definitely can't tell you right now that there's no way I'm gonna play."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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