Sabathia struggled in Saturday's 5-4 loss to the Orioles and has insisted that his left elbow is fine, but manager Joe Girardi theorizes it could be a result of wear and tear on the ace.
"It could be innings over his career," Girardi said. "I mean, he's logged a lot of innings over his career. The workload, that's the only thing I can point to."
Sabathia's fastball averaged 92.1 mph in Saturday's start, according to Fangraphs.com, and catcher Russell Martin said that Sabathia's cutter and slider were not as consistent or sharp as usual.
Sabathia said it was not a concern for him, noting that his velocity was better in his last start against the Rays on Sept. 3, when he averaged 93.3 mph.
"It has nothing to do with velocity, health or anything like that," Sabathia said. "It's just about me making pitches and going out and shutting a team down when we get the lead."
Girardi said that he believes Sabathia is being truthful when he says that he is healthy enough to take the mound.
"I think [an injury] would manifest itself in less velocity than what he's throwing," Girardi said. "You wouldn't see the 94s and 95s that you see. I ask every day. We put him through the tests that we put him through when his elbow was hurt. He doesn't have that pain."