Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Cc's Shot in the Arm

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Cc's Shot in the Arm

Article excerpt

NEW YORK - The ice packs were wrapped tightly in bandages around CC Sabathia's shoulder and elbow, practically mummifying his mammoth left arm.

He stood in front of his locker Sunday afternoon answering question after question about his latest big start, downplaying how badly the Yankees and their exhausted bullpen needed him after their 6-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers.

But the team knows how vital it is to take care of that left arm. After all, the season is riding on it.

Sabathia (3-0) had his best start thus far in 2012, scattering four hits and yielding two runs over eight commanding innings and striking out eight in the rubber game of the three-game series in front of 43,084 fans at the Stadium.

"He's a guy that we've come to rely on," Derek Jeter said. "It's exactly what we needed."

Call it relief. Call it comfort. Call it reassurance.

No matter what the Yankees (12-9) call the sight of Sabathia on the mound, his latest showing only reiterates how crucial he is to an underachieving - and outright struggling -- starting five.

Sabathia's quality start came on a day when Freddy Garcia (0-2, 12.51 ERA) was demoted to the bullpen after four abysmal outings. And the starting rotation carried a 6.37 ERA into the game after three straight poor starts.

Long reliever David Phelps will take Garcia's place, making his first major league start Thursday in Kansas City.

"I've said all along about David Phelps -- I envision him as a starter," manager Joe Girardi said. "I've not seen anything that tells me that eventually he can't be a starter at this level."

Phelps may make only one start, however, before Andy Pettitte returns to the Bronx.

Garcia - who swears there is nothing wrong with his right arm - was not surprised by his demotion.

"When you pitch bad, what do you expect?" said Garcia, who was battered for six runs in 1 2/3 innings Saturday. …

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