CC Sabathia won't start until playoffs

NEW YORK -- In an effort to have CC Sabathia lined up to start Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Sept. 30 at Yankee Stadium, he will not make another start in the regular season, New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

Instead, the plan is for Sabathia (19-8, 3.00 ERA) to throw a 45-pitch simulated game Sunday so he can stay on as regular rest as possible for the first game of the playoffs.

During the postseason, Sabathia said he would be fine with continually throwing on three days' rest, like he did in the Yankees' championship run in 2009.

"It would be no problem," Sabathia told ESPNNewYork.com.

Girardi echoed those sentiments and said that Sabathia could pitch on three days' rest and come back for Game 4 during the ALDS.

For this weekend's series against the Boston Red Sox, the Yankees will stay on rotation, meaning Freddy Garcia will start Friday, followed by A.J. Burnett on Saturday and Ivan Nova on Sunday.

The Yankees hope Phil Hughes will be able to make a start at Tampa in one of the final three games of the season. Hughes missed his last start because of an inflamed bulging disk in his back.

Girardi said the team did not want to mess with its rotation to slide Sabathia in this weekend because they don't want Sabathia's pitch count to get too high. In a simulated game, that is not an issue.

"You can control the environment," Girardi said.

Sabathia topped 237 innings for the fifth straight year. He doesn't think the wear will have any impact on him.

"I feel good," Sabathia said. "I felt good in 2009, in 2008, in 2007, at this time. I mean, the rest can always help."

Sabathia got the no-decision on Thursday, pitching 7 2/3 innings of two-run ball, which was his third chance to win 20. Sabathia doesn't mind that he won't get the chance to get to the mark.

"Like I always say, maybe looking back when I'm done playing, I'll say, 'I wish I had a chance to win [20],' but right now I'm just focused on trying to win a championship," Sabathia said.

After the season, Sabathia has a decision to make. He can decide to opt out of his seven-year, $161 million deal. After this season, he has four years left. At one point, Sabathia said he wouldn't opt out, but he backed off that stance during spring training.

Andrew Marchand covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com.