Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia has been diagnosed with a subluxation of the left shoulder joint and has been removed from the ALCS roster, the team announced Friday.
He will be replaced by Ben Heller, who will be in the bullpen for Game 5 on Friday. Sabathia was injured in Thursday night's Game 4 loss to the Astros.
While teams can replace a player on their series roster due to injury, MLB rules stipulate that that player cannot be added back to the roster for the next series. This, of course, means that even if the Yankees were to mount an ALCS comeback and get to the World Series, Sabathia wouldn't be a part of it. The severity of the 39-year-old's injury likely would have prevented him from pitching any further regardless.
It also means that, barring a change of heart, Sabathia's MLB career is also over. The left-hander announced at the start of the year that the 2019 season would be his last.
He appeared resigned to that fact as he walked off the mound Thursday, drying his eyes as he received a well-deserved standing ovation for a career that, at the very least, will warrant Hall of Fame consideration.
Heller missed all of 2018 while recovering from Tommy John surgery and didn't return to the big leagues this season until September. In six appearances, the right-hander appeared to be back at 100 percent, allowing just one run on six hits over 7 1/3 innings pitched, walking three and striking out nine.