Yankees react to news of Sabathia's season-ending knee surgeryThe Yankees clubhouse acknowledges losing Sabathia is a tough break
It wasn't so much because of anything Sabathia has done this year - he was 3-4 with a 5.28 ERA in eight starts before going on the disabled list May 11 - but because of what he represents to the team.
"It's horrible. He's a horse, and he's been a top-of-the-rotation guy his whole career," catcher Brian McCann said, "so we hope he can recover and be back as soon as possible."
"A lot of our guys have gone down, but he's a guy who is going to go out there and give it his all every time, and that's a big hit for our team," added David Phelps, who got the win in the Yankees' second-half opener just hours after the Sabathia news hit.
In short, Sabathia has been a workhorse for the Yankees, a guy who gave the team distance even when he didn't have his best stuff and was planned to be a big part of a depleted rotation in the second half.
Manager Joe Girardi thought the team would get him back sooner rather than later, acknowledging that when Sabathia was built back up to 55 pitches after his July 2 rehab start, the organization had thoughts of bringing the lefty back to the major-league roster before the All-Star break.
"We thought we were going to get him back, and we had even talked about him throwing right before the break - we had kind of lined it up that way," the skipper said.
"You feel for him, because you know how much he wants to be here and how much he wants to compete," Derek Jeter said, "but it's important for him to get healthy."
Unfortunately, as it lines up, Sabathia's next start will be in 2015, with surgery the next option after rest and an initial draining of fluid in the lefty's right knee proved to be an unsuccessful treatment plan.
"He tried the rehab side of it, and obviously that didn't work," general manager Brian Cashman said of the process, "so it's like, do you want to try again on something that just failed or do you just want to go to the next step and try to get it taken care and hopefully have a better storyline next year? If he had three different options, [rehab and draining the knee] was the least. Now, we are on the middle side of this thing, the cleanup of the knee; hopefully that is good enough, but there's no guarantee."
That lack of guarantee includes the possibility of Sabathia needing microfracture surgery - which could end his career - to fix the problem, but for now, all of the Yankees who spoke on CC after Friday's game are hopeful that he's on the hill come next Opening Day.
"It's sad to see a guy go down like that. He's young, so let's hope he can recuperate and be ready for next year," Carlos Beltran said.
Added Girardi: "It's extremely unfortunate, but the big thing is that we get him back healthy. Hopefully the surgery takes care of it, and we look forward to next year and he gets his 32 starts."
That said, the GM had one last caution that as much as the Yankees would like Sabathia to once again be the horse he always has been, it just may not be so.
"I think with the number of things that have gone on, we'll have to be careful with him nonetheless."