Ivan Nova. CC Sabathia. Andy Pettitte. Mark Teixeira. Alex Rodriguez. Mariano Rivera. The injuries are piling up for the New York Yankees and the dog days of August sure aren’t getting any easier. A team that looked to be on cruise control with the best record in the American League now appears to be sputtering as the Tampa Bay Rays are gaining ground.Joe Girardi doesn’t sound overly concerned, but knows his starting pitching staff hasn’t given all that much consistency this week. The Yankees manager knows the biggest hurdle for this team has yet to come.Joe Girardi joined WFAN in New York with Mike Francesa to discuss the Yankees tough road trip in Chicago, CC Sabathia returning to the pitching rotation on Friday, CC Sabathia’s injuries not concerning him, Joba Chamberlain struggles since returning from the DL and the Tampa Bay Rays closing in on the AL East division lead.
Tough couple of days in the Windy City?
“Yeah we haven’t pitched too well. We haven’t gotten the quality innings that we have been getting out of our starters in this last streak we have been playing very well. Freddy Garcia exited before the 5th. Ivan Nova gave up six runs in six innings, so we have kind of gotten ourselves into a little bit of a rut here.”
CC Sabathia back on Friday. Are you confident he will be full tilt or will he be on any kind of special pitch count?
“Well I think you have to watch him on Friday just because he hasn’t thrown in two weeks. He won’t be on a normal pitch count where I would let him go 115 or 120 at this time of the season, so I think we’ll have to watch a little bit, but not that closely.”
Do the injuries with CC Sabathia concern you a little bit?
“Well they have been little things for the most part. The groin has nothing to do with his arm. A little soreness in the back of his elbow above the bone and the triceps area is not a huge concern and you get concerned when it’s the ligament or the shoulder and we really haven’t had those issues with him.”
Do you worry that Joba Chamberlain rushed himself too much to be back with the Yankees?
“They always talk about Tommy John guys too. The last thing that comes back is their command and I think that’s why he is struggling. He’s struggling with his consistency of that and that’s what’s getting him into trouble.”
How do you feel about the team with the Tampa Bay Rays nipping at you in the standings?
“Well I feel good. You get concerned about some of the injuries that we’re dealing with, but you just gotta fight your way through it. That’s all you can do and hopefully we get some of these guys back and we’ll have to see what we are going to do and one of the things that just came to my attention that just came up…I guess Ivan Nova’s shoulder grabbed a little bit yesterday in the 6th inning, so we are going to send him back for some tests and make sure. We don’t think it’s much, but we are going to have to make sure he’s okay.”