It appeared CC Sabathia could be done for the season after landing on the disabled list last month with a knee injury. Given his struggles, that may not have seemed like much of a blow to the New York Yankees
Another injury to a starting pitcher, though, makes his quick return very welcome.
Sabathia will try to prevent the Yankees from losing a home series to the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night in his first appearance in over two weeks.
Hampered by his arthritic right knee the past few seasons and coming off surgery last year, Sabathia has been unable to recapture the form that made him one of the game's best pitchers for more than a decade.
He posted double-digit wins each of his first 13 seasons before going 3-4 with a 5.28 ERA in eight starts in 2014. This year has brought more of the same, with the big left-hander 4-9 with a 5.27 ERA in 24 starts.
Sabathia had the knee drained twice and recently received a pain-killing shot, but he was placed on the DL Aug. 24, one day after lasting 2 2-3 innings against Cleveland.
He tested his knee while throwing about 60 pitches Friday and reported feeling normal. Sabathia, who will pitch with a brace, indicated he's ready to return to the mound without any concerns.
"I've been testing it pretty good in the bullpens," he said. "Even playing catch on the side, I was letting it go. I was confident that I wouldn't feel anything and I would be ready to go."
New York's rotation took a hit Monday with the news that 14-game winner Nathan Eovaldi will miss the rest of the regular season with elbow inflammation.
Returning against the Orioles makes sense for Sabathia, who is 18-7 with a 3.48 ERA in 32 matchups. However, he's 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA in two this season.
Adam Jones is batting .311 with four homers, four doubles and a triple in 61 at-bats against Sabathia, but he sat out Tuesday's 2-1 win with a sore right shoulder.
''Hopefully, he'll be back tomorrow,'' manager Buck Showalter said.
Alex Rodriguez accounted for all of the Yankees offense with his 30th home run, reaching that total for the 15th season to tie Hank Aaron's major league record. Rodriguez has hit six of those home runs this season against the Orioles.
New York (77-60) dropped to 8-3 in its last 11 and fell 1 1/2 games behind East-leading Toronto.
"We just didn't come up with the big hit tonight,'' manager Joe Girardi said.
Ryan Flaherty homered and Chris Davis snapped a tie in the ninth with his major league-leading 41st, lifting Baltimore (66-72) to its fourth win in 19 games.
''I thought we did a good job hanging in there,'' said Davis, who is 10 for 25 with six home runs and 10 RBIs in seven games this month.
Ubaldo Jimenez (10-9, 4.24) looks to reverse some miserable results against the Yankees. He is 3-5 with a 6.60 ERA in nine matchups, splitting four decisions with a 6.75 ERA in five since joining the Orioles in 2014.
The right-hander notched his first win in five starts Friday at Toronto, working around a career high-tying six walks to allow two runs over 5 2-3 innings in a 10-2 victory. However, he failed to complete six innings for the fifth straight start.
Jacoby Ellsbury is 5 for 7 with a homer the last two seasons against Jimenez while Carlos Beltran is 7 for 20 with two home runs and two doubles lifetime in the matchup.