Yankees activate Sabathia to start

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CLEVELAND (AP) -- CC Sabathia is back to help the New York Yankees.

The Yankees activated their ace left-hander Friday to start the opener of a three-game series against the struggling Cleveland Indians, losers of eight in a row.

New York is coming off a three-game sweep by the White Sox in Chicago and has seen its AL East lead shrink to 212 games over Tampa Bay, winners of seven of 10.

Sabathia, out since Aug. 9 with left elbow inflammation, took the roster spot vacated by right-hander Ivan Nova, played on the disabled list Thursday with an inflamed right rotator cuff.

Manager Joe Girardi said Sabathia will not be on a formal pitch count, but will not be overextended.