CC Sabathia will make his long-awaited return to a big league mound when the Yankees host the Blue Jays on Thursday night at Yankee Stadium.
It will mark Sabathia's first appearance since May 10, 2014, against the Brewers. Sabathia was placed on the disabled list the next day and missed the remainder of the season because of degenerative changes in his right knee.
"It really does feel like it's been a long time since I've been around the team and watched a game, a full game, the other day," Sabathia said. "So it's been a lot of fun and hopefully [Thursday] we can get it going."
Three things to know about this game:
• Sabathia has defeated the Blue Jays at least once in each of the past 11 seasons (2004-14), which is the longest streak of its kind against Toronto. He is 15-4 with a 3.13 ERA all time vs. the Blue Jays, which includes a 2.82 ERA since joining the Yankees in 2009. It's his lowest ERA against any team in the American League East.
• Rookie Daniel Norris was picked to start this game at least partially because of New York's predominantly left-handed-hitting lineup. Norris made his starting debut near the end of the 2014 regular season, and prior to that had made four appearances out of the bullpen. He's ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the Blue Jays' No. 1 prospect.
• With a lefty on the mound for Toronto, New York is expected to sit shortstop Didi Gregorius and outfielder Carlos Beltran, or possibly Brett Gardner. That will allow infielder Gregorio Petit and outfielder Chris Young to make their first starts of the year. For the Blue Jays, first baseman Justin Smoak likely will sit in favor of Danny Valencia.