TAMPA, Fla. -- Eight seasons have passed since Carsten Sabathia helped the Yankees raise their 27th World Series championship banner, part of a talented roster that boasted great chemistry. The veteran left-hander is seeing some of those same qualities in the clubhouse this spring."I'm excited about this team," Sabathia said.
TAMPA, Fla. -- Eight seasons have passed since Carsten Sabathia helped the Yankees raise their 27th World Series championship banner, part of a talented roster that boasted great chemistry. The veteran left-hander is seeing some of those same qualities in the clubhouse this spring.
"I'm excited about this team," Sabathia said. "Obviously, you want to stay healthy, but I think we've got upgrades all over the field. Picking up [Giancarlo] Stanton, getting [Brandon] Drury and Neil Walker along with the guys we already had. I'm excited to see what this team can be."
In 2009 the Yankees had been major players in free agency, signing Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira to large contracts. Their arrivals supplemented the "Core Four" of Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera, plus such stars as Alex Rodriguez and Johnny Damon.
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"We had chemistry right away, like this team. Spring Training has been good," Sabathia said. "But to have so many free agents -- me, [Nick] Swisher and A.J. -- I just felt comfortable right away. I think we had Swisher hitting seventh, with 20 homers. It was stacked. I think it was just the chemistry. We all pulled for each other and got along, and we had fun."
Sabathia said that the jovial vibe with the '18 Yankees reminds him of that club. Minutes before Sabathia spoke, pitchers Tommy Kahnle and Wade LeBlanc were spotted zipping a football across the length of the clubhouse, with Kahnle receiving it and replicating a touchdown celebration on the carpet.
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"Look at it," Sabathia said. "Everybody is hanging around. Nobody is in their locker with their head down. Guys are hanging out off the field. I think this has a chance to be a good group."
Six up, six down
Dellin Betances has lobbied manager Aaron Boone to use him for multiple innings frequently this season. The right-hander was excellent in that role in Monday's 4-2 loss to the Rays, retiring all six men he faced while striking out four.
"I feel like that's what I did my first couple of years," Betances said. "I told Boone and them, whatever they need me to do. We've got so many power arms down there. I feel like a lot of times, we'll have to go multiple [innings] here and there, and I'm ready for it."
Boone not worried about Giancarlo
Stanton went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts on Monday, lowering his spring average to .205. Boone believes Stanton has been "in and out a little bit" at the plate, but he is not concerned about the slugger's readiness for the regular season.
"I think he's close," Boone said. "I think it's just a little bit of finding that timing perfect to where he starts really clicking. Big guy like that, I think it's just about getting in that rhythm, finding that good timing. Once he does, he'll take off."
He said it
"Let's get the Royal Family out there. Maybe the Queen can make an appearance." -- Boone, on the possibility of playing a regular-season series in London against the Red Sox in 2019
• Sabathia has one tuneup remaining before the regular season. He threw 80 pitches in a simulated game at Steinbrenner Field on Monday, facing Drury, Greg Bird and a pair of Yankees Minor Leaguers. Sabathia said that his backdoor slider was "encouraging."
• Adam Warren served up ninth-inning homers to David Rodriguez and Carlos Gomez, allowing Tampa Bay's four-run rally. Boone said that Warren's slider appeared to be flat and up in the zone.
The Yankees are scheduled to play the Tigers on Tuesday in Lakeland, Fla. Brady Lail will start for New York, replacing Sonny Gray, who has been shifted to work in a Minor League contest instead. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET.
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.