TORONTO -- If CC Sabathia had his way, he would not be the latest Yankee to hit the disabled list.
Sabathia said he tried to argue his way out of it with skipper Joe Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman, to no avail. But he does understand the decision and, although he admitted that it was scary when he first felt something in his left elbow, he said he will be good to go when he is eligible to return from the DL on Aug. 24.
"That's the day I'm pitching, for sure," Sabathia said emphatically, referring to what will be his next start against the Indians, providing there are no setbacks. "Right now, the thing to do is rest it, keep getting treatment and see how it feels in a couple of days."
The Yankees' ace is optimistic, as is Girardi, because the left-hander has never experienced arm troubles during his career and his MRI came back clean.
"I know there's nothing structurally wrong with my arm," Sabathia said. "Everybody pitches with a little pain."
Sabathia said he has mainly felt stiffness in his elbow and had limited range of motion, which convinced him to bring up the issue with the club.
The 32-year-old told head athletic trainer Steve Donohue about the discomfort after he had trouble touching his shoulder with his left hand following his start against the Mariners on Aug. 3.
"I wasn't going to say anything, but my wife was going to call Stevie herself if I didn't say something. She made me go in there and tell him," Sabathia said.
Sabathia had the MRI after facing Seattle, and then the stiffness reemerged during his last outing against the Tigers, but he chose to pitch through it. There was no specific pitch that made his elbow feel worse, and no further tests are scheduled. He will see a doctor on Monday, though, and then figure out the next course of action.
Girardi tried to take a positive out of the situation and believes that Sabathia, who has logged over 230 innings in each of the past five seasons, could benefit down the stretch from some extra rest.
If the pain hadn't crept back, there is a good chance that the Yankees would have let Sabathia continue pitching. But Girardi said elbow injuries of any kind are not something to be taken lightly.
"He wants to pitch. CC would go out there with broken body parts if you let him, that's who he is," Girardi said. "That is what you want out of a player. Cashman, myself, we have to make decisions that we feel are good for, not just tomorrow, but down the road, next month.
"It is not easy putting your ace on the DL, let me tell you."
Girardi said New York's place in the standings played no factor in placing Sabathia on the DL, and that he would have wound up there regardless of the club's record.
"I think he understands why [Cashman] did it, but the competitive nature in CC is that 'I can fight through everything and I'm going to perform at a high level,' and that's what probably has made him so great," Girardi said.
This is the second time this season that Sabathia has landed on the DL, the first coming in late June with a Grade 1 groin strain.
In the five starts he made after, Sabathia went 3-0 with a 3.89 ERA. He struck out 35 batters and walked just six in 34 2/3 innings of work over that stretch.
Sabathia is 12-3 with a 3.56 ERA over 20 starts this season.
Yanks going with Phelps in CC's spot vs. Texas
TORONTO -- The Yankees have named David Phelps as CC Sabathia's replacement in the rotation, at least as far as Monday's series opener vs. Texas goes.
Phelps has primarily pitched out of New York's bullpen this season, but was a starter his entire Minor League career, and has made three starts in 2012.
"Hopefully go out there and learn from what I did last time and give us a chance to win," said Phelps, when asked what his plan against Texas was. "It's a huge series."
Phelps last started against the Rays on July 4, and he believes that he could give the Yankees 75-80 pitches.
Manager Joe Girardi said he will talk to pitching coach Larry Rothschild and make a determination about the exact number they are targeting Monday.
"I would think he would be able to give us [75-80]," Girardi said.
Phelps has faced the Rangers once this season, pitching 2 1/3 innings of relief in a 7-3 loss back in April in Arlington. He was charged with three of those runs, and surrendered a pair of solo homers to Mike Napoli and Mitch Moreland.
But now Phelps will get to attack the Rangers from the first pitch, and said there is a big difference between starting and relieving.
"When I go out there as a starter, I know that I'm out there for more than one or two innings. Well, I'm supposed to be out there for more than one or two innings," Phelps said. "So I kind of plan my game a little differently than just worrying about just the next hitter. I can manage the lineup a little differently."
The 25-year-old said he has learned a lot about himself throughout the season. One of the biggest things has been the confidence he has gained pitching at the Major League level.
"I have learned that I'm capable of doing more than starting," Phelps said. "I hadn't done it [relieving] in the Minor Leagues, and I have proven to myself that I can be more than just a starter. I think I have just made myself a little more versatile.
"I have proven to myself that I can get big league hitters out. Whether it was Spring Training or during the season, I have made a lot of strides."
The right-hander has appeared in 22 games this season and is 2-3 with a 2.42 ERA over 52 innings.
Chris Toman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.