NEW YORK -- Carsten Sabathia is one step closer to his anticipated return to the Yankees' rotation, as the team announced on Tuesday that the left-hander has been cleared to resume workouts and begin baseball activities.
Sabathia had a health scare in December that prompted the discovery of a blocked artery, and doctors inserted a stent on Dec. 11. The 18-year veteran underwent a follow-up stress test on Tuesday and remains on track to report to Spring Training with pitchers and catchers on Feb. 13.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said last week that he expects Sabathia to open the season in the team's rotation, though Sabathia will first need to serve a five-game suspension for throwing at the Rays' Jesus Sucre in a Sept. 29 game at Tropicana Field.
Sabathia experienced acid reflux, heartburn and an increased amount of perspiration while riding an exercise bike in December. He was evaluated at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and is said to have an excellent short-term and long-term prognosis.
"We're thankful for CC responding or reacting to the complaints he was having in such an intelligent way to make sure he got the care necessary, so there were no serious consequences," Cashman said.
The positive report could prompt the Yankees to resume negotiations involving right-hander Sonny Gray, as Cashman said those talks slowed as a result of Sabathia's initial hospital visit. To date, 11 teams have shown interest in Gray, including the Braves, Brewers, Mariners, Padres and Reds.
"[Sabathia's situation] slowed down my conversations because we had to see how this played out first," Cashman said. "Once [Sabathia] has these follow-up appointments, I'll be in a much better position to fully engage moving forward on the Sonny Gray conversations we've had, or continue to slow-walk it while we make sure that CC is taken care of health-wise first and foremost."
New York's rotation is slated to be headed by Luis Severino, James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka and J.A. Happ, with the club hoping that Sabathia can continue to provide a dependable presence in what is expected to be his final Major League season.
New York re-signed Sabathia to a one-year, $8 million contract in November. He was 9-7 with a 3.65 ERA in 153 innings in 2018, making 29 starts. He took the loss in the season-ending Game 4 of the American League Division Series against the Red Sox.