NEW YORK -- Carsten Sabathia was encouraged by the results of a pregame bullpen session on Monday and said that he expects to be activated on Saturday to face the Red Sox at Fenway Park, the first date that he would be eligible to come off the 10-day disabled list.Sabathia
NEW YORK -- Carsten Sabathia was encouraged by the results of a pregame bullpen session on Monday and said that he expects to be activated on Saturday to face the Red Sox at Fenway Park, the first date that he would be eligible to come off the 10-day disabled list.
Sabathia briefly considered retirement after traveling back to New York following an abbreviated three-inning outing last Tuesday at Toronto, fearful that he had further damaged his right knee. A clean MRI and a helpful chat with his wife, Amber, preceded injections of cortisone, platelet-rich plasma and stem cells that have reduced the discomfort.
"After a couple of days playing catch, I felt good, but you never know until you get off the mound and get off that slope," Sabathia said. "I was able to let the ball go."
Sabathia is wearing the same bulky knee brace that he first received in 2015, and he expects to throw another bullpen session in a day or two. Sabathia may require additional injections as the season goes on, but he said that plan is still being worked on.
If Sabathia is able to return on Saturday, he could reclaim the rotation spot that was filled by right-hander Luis Cessa on Monday against the Mets. Sabathia said that he tested his limitations at the end of the session and was pleased with his form.
"It just felt better as the pen went on," said Sabathia, who is 9-5 with a 4.05 ERA in 19 starts this year. "I wasn't feeling any pain. I was able to let the ball go. That's a big difference from where I was last Tuesday."
Yankees designated hitter Matthew Holliday (left lumbar strain) took on-field batting practice for the second consecutive day on Monday and said that he has felt good running and swinging, raising his level of optimism that he will be able to rejoin the lineup in the near future.
"The biggest thing is you've got to be careful," Holliday said. "You don't want to do something too early and have a setback. I want to get back to where I feel 100 percent strong and have no pain, and I can do everything I need to do to prepare for the game, where I'm not just trying to make it through my four at-bats."
Holliday, 37, tweaked his lower back in an Aug. 4 game at Cleveland. In 88 games, he is slashing .229/.319/.430 with 16 homers and 51 RBIs.
• Left-hander Caleb Smith was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in order to create room on the active roster for Cessa. Smith did not pitch after being recalled prior to Sunday's game against the Red Sox.
• In a pregame ceremony on Monday, the Yankees recognized Claire Smith, winner of the National Baseball Hall of Fame's 2017 J.G. Taylor Spink Award.
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.