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Joe Girardi’s Approach With CC Sabathia Must Change

CC Sabathia
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CC Sabathia has thrown over 2,600 innings in the big leagues.  He is 32.  He had a bone spur removed over the offseason.  He has trouble putting guys away with two strikes.  His velocity is down.  At times, his location is hit and miss, especially with his off-speed stuff.  In other words, this isn’t 2007 or 2008 anymore, in Cleveland or Milwaukee, when he could carry a team and log a ton of innings.  Hell, it isn’t even 2009 or 2010 in New York anymore.

And so, with that, manager Joe Girardi needs to have a watchful eye on the big lefty from now on.

Girardi continues to leave Sabathia on the mound too late into games.  Pitch after pitch after pitch after pitch, beyond the 90-100 pitch count CC should be on.  At that amount of pitches, Sabathia needs to be taken out.  But instead, Girardi leaves Sabathia out there.  Big mistake.  Girardi has young, healthy relievers who need to pitch now to see if they have staying power in the Bronx.  Seeing if the relievers have staying power is an important reason to pitch them, but the other important reason is saving Sabathia.

Is Sabathia still a bulldog?  Is he still a throwback?  Is he still a good teammate who will take the ball as long as he has to to help the team?  Is he still a guy who can pitch a complete game against Cleveland on June 5 and get a win and pitch a complete game on July 9 in a loss at home to Kansas City?  Yes to all.  But that doesn’t mean he should be out there laboring late in games or fighting through nine innings when the offense can’t hit and a fresh bullpen awaits.

This isn’t the old, dominating and fresh CC Sabathia.  Times have changed.  Hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of innings have been thrown with that right arm.  CC is a sort-of-ace now.  But he should be a 90-100 pitch sort-of-ace because of his age, lowered velocity, trouble putting hitters away with two strikes and unbelievable work load the last six seasons.

Now Joe Girardi must realize it before it’s too late.

By:  Mike Lindsley, “Mid-Day with Mike,” M-F 1-4, Yankees pre/post game host on 104.5 The Team ESPN Radio.  Follow him on Twitter at  

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