Sabathia healthy, efficient in 'fun' spring debut

Yankees lefty uses entire repertoire on stable right knee while throwing 2 hitless innings

March 8th, 2016
CC Sabathia: "Just to be back out there, it's fun to be competing again, and it went well." (AP)

JUPITER, Fla. -- He threw all his pitches, his mechanics looked solid and he reported no issues with his right knee. All in all, it was a very good day on the mound for Yankees veteran left-hander CC Sabathia.

Sabathia on Tuesday pitched in a live Major League game for the first time since the end of last season and delivered a very encouraging outing in the Yankees' 1-0 loss to the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium. He threw 25 pitches -- 16 for strikes -- over two shutout innings, struck out two and allowed no hits. The only blemish on his first pitching line of this spring was a two-out walk to Chris Johnson in the second.

Spring Training information

"Just to be back out there, it's fun to be competing again, and it went well," said Sabathia, who spent 29 days in a rehab center to deal with an alcohol-related problem after leaving the team just before last year's American League Wild Card Game.

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Sabathia reported no issues with the brace he wore on his right knee. He spent two weeks on the disabled list late last August and early September because of inflammation in the knee, but all seemed well with that issue, too.

"That's most important," Sabathia said. "No problems landing, and I think that's why I'm a little ahead of where I was last year in Spring Training, just because I feel a lot better. My mechanics are what they should be right now, so it's just about building on that."

Sabathia said that he was pleased with all his pitches.

"Got some quick outs, quick swings. Threw everything," the 35-year-old lefty said. "[Slider] felt pretty good. I got a strikeout with it. Tried to do a couple backdoor that just didn't quite get there, but felt good. I got to work on my changeup a little more, but overall I felt really good. My cutter was good. I got some ground balls on the two-seamer."

Sabathia needed only six pitches to record three outs in the first inning. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said after the game that he would have had to confer with pitching coach Larry Rothschild about possibly sending Sabathia out for a third inning had he tossed a similar inning in the second. It didn't get to that point, however.

"I thought he threw the ball extremely well," Girardi said. "I thought he located extremely well, and that's what we wanted to see. ... Hitters really tell you what a guy's stuff is. I mean, they really do, by the contact they make, so that's what you look at. The last couple of years I think it's been a struggle because of his lower half. I think his knee kept him from, at times, doing what he wanted to do."