CC Sabathia is set to make his 2019 debut on Saturday afternoon when he gets the start against the Chicago White Sox at Yankee Stadium.
This comes as the Yankees are riding a four-game losing streak, including a dispiriting 9-6 loss in a rain-shortened game to Chicago on Friday night after they were swept in Houston.
Sabathia had knee surgery immediately after last season ended and then he had a heart scare which required surgery in December.
At the start of spring training, Sabathia announced that this will be his final season, so this season will have added meaning with that and what he has overcome to get back on the mound.
Yankees Manager Aaron Boone said on Saturday morning of the veteran lefty and the realistic expectations he has for him in this start, "That he's going to pitch well. You know, obviously all that he's been through this winter, with the heart scare and coming back from the knee (surgery), I feel like he's had a really, I feel like, smooth comeback trail. Every step along the way, it's gone as planned.
"He's in a good place throwing the ball well, you know, not built up to where he will be in a few more starts, probably, but we feel like, hopefully, he can give us, whether it's three, four, five innings, whatever it is, feel like he's ready to really contribute."
Boone said the Yankees have a pitch count in mind for Saturday's start, but probably would not be close to the 100-pitch range.
On Sabathia providing a spark for this team when it needs it most, as they battle injuries and inconsistent play, Boone said, "There's no question I think there's something that CC, obviously, brings to our room from an intangible standpoint. You know, he's obviously a special person, a guy that's, you know, at the back end of what's been a Hall of Fame career and starting his final season, so that is meaningful, and it feels really good to turn to a guy that's pitched in so many big games here and meant so much to this franchise, to hand him the ball on a day when we're going through a tough time. Yes, I love that thought and it is meaningful and excited to see him go do his thing because I feel like he's ready to go."