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Yankees put CC Sabathia on DL with groin strain

NEW YORK (AP) CC Sabathia is expected to miss his next two starts after he was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday because he strained his groin on Sunday night.General manager Brian Cashman says the left-hander felt a twinge in the muscle on the inside of his left leg in the fourth inning of a win over the New York Mets. He didn't tell anyone about it until he could still feel discomfort after throwing in the bullpen on Tuesday.

Manager Joe Girardi says the Yankees expect to have Sabathia, who is 9-3 with a 3.45 ERA, back shortly after the All-Star break. Longtime starter Freddy Garcia is expected to return to the Yankees rotation in place of the Cy Young-winner.

Garcia has been working out of the bullpen following an ineffective start to the season.

"Our belief is that it's only going to be two starts," Girardi said.

The Yankees have had lousy luck with pitching health this season. All-Star newcomer Michael Pineda is out for the season after having shoulder surgery before he even pitched in a big league game with New York following an offseason trade from Seattle. And closer Mariano Rivera tore his ACL and damaged his meniscus when his foot caught near the outfield wall while he was catching fly balls during batting practice before a game in Kansas City.

The Yankees have overcome all that and led the AL East by four games over Baltimore entering Wednesday's games.

"We have a pretty experienced club," Girardi said. "We lost the greatest closer of all time, we were able to respond."

Sabathia has been an anchor for the Yankees, though. His 105 strikeouts lead the team and 8.8 strikeouts per nine innings are best among starters and better than all but relievers Boone Logan and Cory Wade. This is his first trip to the disabled list with the Yankees.

The big-bodied Sabathia has been incredibly durable throughout his 12 major league seasons. This is his third trip to the DL, following two with Cleveland. The most recent one was six years ago, when he missed the first month of the season because of a right oblique strain. He won the AL Cy Young the following year and the Indians came one win away from taking the AL pennant then traded Sabathia the following season.

Sabathia wanted to avoid going on the DL this time, too. Cashman received a report last night that Sabathia was hoping to maybe just miss a start. And had it been September or October, that's what would have happened. But in June, with the Yankees in first place, there's no need to risk him missing 7 or 8 starts in an attempt to have him avoid missing two.

"It was a one-way conversation," Cashman said. "I did all the talking. I know what he wants to do, but this is what we're going to do."

The Yankees didn't make a corresponding move to fill Sabathia's spot because they couldn't get any players to New York in time. Right-hander Adam Warren is a candidate to be called up from Triple-A.