Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 9/15/12

CC Sabathia takes pride in being the unquestioned ace of the Yankees' pitching staff, but his answer was

telling when asked Friday for his thoughts about injured starters Ivan Nova (shoulder) and Andy Pettitte

(ankle) returning to the rotation in games Saturday and Tuesday, respectively.

"Hopefully they can help us out, because I haven't been," said Sabathia, who has dropped three straight

decisions for the first time since joining the Yankees in 2009. "Hopefully they can go out and pick me up,

because I haven't been doing that lately."

Sabathia insists he's healthy after he spent two stints on the disabled list earlier this summer with

groin and elbow ailments. But the lefty is 0-3 with a 4.67 ERA in his last four starts, including a 6-4

loss Friday night to Tampa Bay. The Yanks are mired in a three-way battle with the Orioles and the Rays for

the AL East crown.

"Every game right now is crucial. To go out, against a pitcher like (David) Price, and have a lead and

give it up, it's tough and it's definitely been frustrating," Sabathia said. "We keep talking about it, but

it's time for me to show it. My arm feels good, my body feels good, it's up to me get out of situations and

I'm not doing that.

"We're in a race, and I'm struggling, but I have to look to my next start and get better."

Before the game, GM Brian Cashman compared Sabathia's willingness to play through injury to that of

Derek Jeter, who has remained in the lineup despite being hobbled by a bruised left ankle.

"The guy has done so many special things for us, so I still believe in him," Joe Girardi said. "I'm with

him every day in that clubhouse, and I know his heart."

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