Sabathia sharp in his return for Yankees

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- The New York Yankees got one of their best players back from the disabled list just as the Toronto Blue Jays put one of theirs on the DL.

CC Sabathia returned with one of his best outings of the season, pitching six innings of shutout ball in the Yankees' 6-1 win Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium.

While the Blue Jays absorbed their second straight loss to the AL East leaders, they were heartened to know their latest injury in a season full of them was not as bad as they thought. Jose Bautista was placed on the 15-day disabled list with what the club called inflammation in his left wrist, but the team said there was no structural damage found.

The Yankees moved 22 games above .500 with a familiar formula, getting a three-run homer from Andruw Jones to complement their strong pitching.

Robinson Cano also extended his career-high hitting streak to 20 games. Chris Stewart and Derek Jeter each added an RBI double off reliever Sam Dyson in a three-run seventh.

Things are going so well lately for the Yankees, they realized they might have actually benefited from Sabathia's absence. The lefty, who had been out since June 24 due to a strained groin, said he had his best changeup in "maybe, a year" after working on it during his time off.

And Jones and manager Joe Girardi both acknowledged that the layoff for one of baseball's biggest workhorses may help him down the stretch, since he will have fewer innings on his valuable left arm.

"That's the CC we needed," Jones said. "I think that rest means a lot for him for the end run of our season."

Sabathia remained in All-Star form. He struck out six and allowed four hits and one walk before leaving to a standing ovation in the seventh, after giving up a leadoff single to Adam Lind on his 87th pitch.

"Coming in after not throwing in three weeks ... it felt good," said Sabathia, who added he kept trying to calm himself down. "... I feel excited. ... It felt good to come back and be a part of it."

Cody Eppley and Boone Logan combined to retire the next three batters after Sabathia left. Chad Qualls gave up the Blue Jays' lone run in the eighth on Colby Rasmus' sacrifice fly, and struggled in the ninth as Toronto loaded the bases with one out.

In came Rafael Soriano. The closer watched Mark Teixeira snare J.P. Arencibia's liner and double up rookie Anthony Gose at first to end the game and give him his 24th save of the season.

The Yankees supported Sabathia early, thanks to Jones' three-run homer in the second. Brett Cecil (2-2) allowed three runs on six hits in six innings while striking out five and walking two for Toronto.

"He got a better rhythm as he got through the middle innings," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "I thought his curveball became a little bit more sharp ... Jones went down and got a decent pitch on a changeup that was on the outer part of the plate, but other than that, (Cecil) did his job tonight."

Toronto, missing All-Star right fielder Bautista, who was second in the majors in homers after topping the league the past two seasons, managed little offense early, with just three hits in the first five innings.

The Blue Jays were relieved, though, to find out Bautista did not sustain structural damage in his left wrist.

Bautista acknowledged, "I thought I had torn something or maybe broken my wrist" when injuring himself on a swing resulting in a long foul ball Monday night. So he was relieved that X-rays were negative and a MRI showed no structural damage. He called the injury a strain of his left wrist while the Jays said the MRI showed inflammation.

Bautista said he thought he could return from the DL when eligible, though Farrell stressed caution.

"The last thing that we want is to push this to the point of any kind of relapse or the potential for any other damage that might be incurred if he's not fully ready to go," said Farrell, who added it was too early to place a timetable on Bautista's return.

NOTES: Alex Rodriguez was the DH for a second consecutive day due to a stiff neck. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he would use Rodriguez at third base Wednesday and move shortstop Derek Jeter to DH. ... Chris Stewart was again the catcher for Sabathia as Girardi said he was going to give starter Russell Martin the night off Tuesday and play him Wednesday afternoon instead. ... Outfielder Darnell McDonald was designated for assignment to make room for Sabathia. ... Right-hander Joba Chamberlain's progress in his rehab from an open dislocation of his right ankle and Tommy John surgery has the Yankees "encouraged," Girardi said. Chamberlain began his rehab assignment on July 10 and has 30 days to complete it, barring setbacks. ... Mariano Rivera hasn't ruled out returning in September, but Girardi said it would be "very difficult because it's a short period of time, but we'll see what happens." ... Outfielder Brett Gardner (strained right elbow) underwent an MRI on Tuesday, and the Yankees were awaiting the results, Girardi said before the game. ... Outfielder Gose was called up to replace Bautista in the lineup. Gose made his major-league debut as a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning Tuesday and grounded out. He stayed in the game and played right field, getting an infield hit in the ninth. The rookie will make his first major league start Wednesday in right field, he said, and called the excitement of making his big-league debut "indescribable." Gose, one of Toronto's top prospects, was hitting .292 and had 29 stolen bases, which topped the Pacific Coast League. ... Left-hander Luis Perez underwent Tommy John surgery, as expected, in Pensacola, Fla., on Tuesday. The surgery was performed by Dr. James Andrews.
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