Yankees taking what Sabathia can give them

CC may be unable to give club as much length, but he's not letting it affect his approach

Yankees taking what Sabathia can give them

NEW YORK -- During the prime of his career, CC Sabathia was a workhorse on the mound and one of the perennial league leaders in innings pitched each season. But Sabathia said he had recently come to grips with the fact that he is no longer the kind of pitcher the Yankees will consistently count on to pitch deep into games.

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An outing similar to Thursday against the Marlins -- in which he gave up three runs on five hits in six innings with seven strikeouts -- will suffice, considering he kept the Yankees in the game before they eventually pulled out a 9-4 victory.

"It's difficult not being the guy I used to be who went deep into games," Sabathia said. "Just kind of is what it is. I go out there hard as I can until I'm done."

Sabathia has recorded at least an out in the seventh inning in five of his 14 starts this season, but has not pitched past the sixth since May 16 against the Royals.

Even though Sabathia had thrown only 92 pitches, Yankees manager Joe Girardi decided to pull him from the game after six innings, considering the fact that Sabathia has struggled working through a lineup for a third time.

Opposing batters are hitting .474 against Sabathia in the seventh inning this year, during which he owns a 12.46 ERA. When facing a lineup the third time through the order entering Thursday, opponents owned an OPS of .996 against Sabathia with a slash line of .333/.351/.644. Compare that to .278/.328/.435 with a .763 OPS the first time through and a .321/.336/.443 with a .780 OPS the second time through.

The Yankees have given no indication that Sabathia is leaving their rotation any time soon, so this is how they are managing him. And even though he has come to this realization, he does not believe he will alter the way he approaches the early innings of his start.

After all, he was perfect through three innings before allowing a leadoff triple in the fourth.

"It really doesn't change the way I pitch," he said. "It's just frustrating for me that I can only give them six innings at a time."

Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.