NEW YORK – Left-hander CC Sabathia was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday with a strained groin before New York’s rotation took another hit when fellow left-hander Andy Pettitte broke his left ankle on a line drive.

Sabathia is expected to miss his next two starts after sustaining the injury Sunday against the New York Mets, and Pettitte will be gone for at least six weeks with an injury the team said won’t require surgery. Pettitte was hit by Casey Kotchman’s liner in the fifth inning of a 5-4 victory against the Cleveland Indians.

“Been a bad day for left-handers,” Manager Joe Girardi said.

General Manager Brian Cashman said Sabathia felt a twinge in the muscle on the inside of his left leg in the fourth inning of Sunday night’s victory against the Mets. He didn’t tell anyone until he felt discomfort following a bullpen session Tuesday as he prepared for his next start.

“I wanted to go out and pitch Friday, but it’s early in the season and I want to be healthy,” Sabathia said.

Sabathia said he completed his bullpen session and the injury didn’t alter his throwing motion, though “it didn’t feel good.”

Sabathia has been durable throughout his 12 seasons — this is only his third trip to the DL following two with Cleveland. The most recent one was six years ago, when he missed the first month of the season because of a right oblique strain. He won the AL Cy Young the following year and the Indians came one win from taking the AL pennant. They dealt Sabathia the next season.

Girardi said the Yankees expect to have Sabathia, who is 9-3 with a 3.45 ERA, back shortly after the All-Star break. Freddy Garcia was expected to return to the rotation in place of Sabathia, though he had to come in to pitch Wednesday after Pettitte left.

Garcia has been working out of the bullpen following an ineffective start to the season.

The Yankees had lousy luck with pitching health this season even before Wednesday’s problems.

Newcomer Michael Pineda is out for the season after having shoulder surgery — before he even pitched in a big league game following an offseason trade from Seattle. And closer Mariano Rivera tore his ACL and damaged his meniscus when his foot caught near the outfield wall while he was catching fly balls during batting practice before a game in Kansas City.

Despite all that, the Yankees have won seven of their last 10 games and lead the tough AL East.

“We have a pretty experienced club,” Girardi said. “We lost the greatest closer of all time, we were able to respond.”

Then Pettitte got hurt, taking away a significant part of the Yankees’ margin for error.

Sabathia, meanwhile, has been an anchor for the Yankees. His 105 strikeouts lead the team and his 8.8 per nine innings are best among the team’s starters — and better than all but relievers Boone Logan and Cory Wade.

“You just can’t take a chance with him,” Pettitte said. “He’s our horse.”

Sabathia was hoping to miss only one start and avoid going on the DL. If it had been September or October in a pennant race, that likely would have been the case. But in June and with the Yankees in first place, Cashman said there’s no need for the Yankees to put their ace at risk of aggravating the injury.

“It was a one-way conversation,” Cashman said. “I did all the talking. I know what he wants to do but this is what we’re going to do.”


YANKEES 5, INDIANS 4: Robinson Cano hit a go-ahead homer to help New York win at home for a three-game sweep.

Rafael Soriano had an adventuresome ninth inning, putting the first two batters on base and walking in a run with two outs before getting Asdrubal Cabrera to fly out to left for his 17th save.

After Pettitte was injured, right-hander Cody Eppley came on with Kotchman on first and no one out. Lou Marson singled and Aaron Cunningham bunted the runners over before Kotchman was thrown out at the plate on Michael Brantley’s grounder to first base against Clay Rapada.

Cabrera hit a tying RBI single and Jason Kipnis followed with a blooper that fell in just beyond the glove of shortstop Jayson Nix to put the Indians ahead 3-2.

Ubaldo Jimenez (7-6) gave the lead back in the sixth when he allowed a leadoff double by Alex Rodriguez before Cano’s drive.

Jimenez allowed four hits, four walks and four runs in six innings while striking out seven.

Pettitte had been working on another good start when he was hurt. He struck out seven in four innings, and was charged with two runs, one earned. He has struck out about a batter per inning since returning May 13.

Shelley Duncan hit an RBI double in the second for Cleveland, which has lost a season-high five straight.


NOTES: The Indians claimed utility player Vinny Rottino off waivers from the Mets, who designated him for assignment Monday. He hit .182 with a double, two homers and five RBI in 18 games with the Mets. Cleveland made room for him on the 40-man roster by designating right-hander Chris Schwinden for assignment.