Yankees' Pettitte breaks left leg and will miss up to two months
New York - The Yankees lost their ace for at least a couple of weeks and their most dependable veteran for about a couple of months. For a team that's already lost two key pitchers to injuries for the season, the news could have been worse.
It was bad enough even before Andy Pettitte fractured his fibula near his left ankle on the same day the Yankees put CC Sabathia on the 15-day disabled list with a strained groin. Robinson Cano hit a go-ahead homer to help New York beat the Cleveland Indians 5-4 Wednesday for a three-game sweep.
"No one's going to feel sorry for us," manager Joe Girardi said.
The Yankees have won 25 of their last 32 games and reached a season-high 18 games over .500. But they now have to face at least two starts without Sabathia and possibly close to two months without Pettitte, the veteran who came out of retirement and filled in admirably for a pitching staff hit by injuries, including the loss of starter Michael Pineda and closer Mariano Rivera.
"If we have to score some runs, we'll score some runs," Girardi said.
Pettitte suffered his injury in the fifth inning when he was hit in the leg on a line drive by Casey Kotchman. Before the game, the Yankees announced Sabathia strained his groin against the Mets on Sunday, and still felt discomfort after throwing in the bullpen Tuesday.
"I wanted to go out and pitch Friday, but it's early in the season and I want to be healthy," Sabathia said. "If Friday I got out there in the bullpen and couldn't go, that would put us in a really tough spot."
Rafael Soriano had an adventuresome ninth inning in which he put the first two batters on base and walked in a run with two outs before getting Asdrubal Cabrera to fly out to left for his 17th save.
Pettitte was hit near his left ankle as he brought it around from the rubber while completing his delivery. The ball bounced toward the third base line and the left-hander went to field it, but it looked as if he couldn't put weight on it and he went down on the grass.
He got back on the mound and threw several warm-up pitches before manager Joe Girardi let him stay in. But when he came up limping after throwing his first live pitch, Girardi popped out of the dugout and signaled for a pitching change.
Right-hander Cody Eppley came on with Kotchman on first and no one out. Lou Marson singled and Aaron Cunningham bunted the runners over before Kotchman was thrown out at the plate on Michael Brantley's grounder to first base against Clay Rapada.
Cabrera hit a tying RBI single and Jason Kipnis followed with a blooper that fell in just beyond the glove of shortstop Jayson Nix to put the Indians ahead 3-2.
Ubaldo Jimenez (7-6) gave the lead back in the sixth when he allowed a leadoff double by Alex Rodriguez before Cano's drive.
Jimenez allowed four hits, four walks and four runs in six innings while striking out seven. Eric Chavez had three hits, including a two-run double off Jimenez in the fourth.
Pettitte was working on another good start when he was hurt. He struck out 7 in four innings, and was charged with two runs, only one earned.
Girardi said 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 was expected to return to the Yankees rotation in place of the Cy Young winner, but he had to pitch in the fifth inning. He struck out cleanup hitter Jose Lopez to end the fifth, then worked a perfect sixth and seventh.
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