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CC goes seven scoreless, whiffs seven Bucs

Opening Day starter allows four hits, one walk; Yanks plate four early runs

TAMPA, Fla. -- CC Sabathia enjoyed another commanding tuneup, firing seven scoreless innings as the Yankees defeated the Pirates, 4-0, on Friday night at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

The left-hander scattered four hits and struck out seven as he works toward his Opening Day assignment on April 1 against the Astros in Houston.

"It's Spring Training. I do feel like I have a lot to prove, but it kind of is what it is," Sabathia said. "I wasn't right last year; I wasn't the same guy. I feel confident, I feel strong. Hopefully I can just carry this into the season."

The Yankees connected for four runs and five hits in five innings against Pittsburgh right-hander Edinson Volquez. Brian McCann had a first-inning RBI double and Carlos Beltran scored on a wild pitch, building an early New York lead.

Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter added run-scoring groundouts in the second inning against Volquez, who walked two and struck out four.

That was plenty for Sabathia, who kicked it into cruise control and did not allow an extra-base hit, getting 10 outs on the ground. Sabathia's outing followed five hitless innings his last time out against the Marlins in Panama.

Sabathia's fastball velocity has been a consistent topic of the Yankees' spring, but manager Joe Girardi said that his focus is more on what the opposing hitters do against Sabathia. He threw 55 of 89 pitches for strikes, touched 91 mph and sat mostly at 88-89 mph.

"I thought his changeup was effective; I thought his cutter was effective," Girardi said. "He threw some good cutters tonight. His plane with his fastball was good. He got a ton of ground balls, and that's really a good sign."

Up next: Masahiro Tanaka (0-0, 1.93 ERA) has the ball for his fourth appearance (third start) of the spring on Saturday as the Yankees visit the Twins in Fort Myers, Fla. for a 1:05 p.m. ET contest. Minnesota righty Kevin Correia (1-1, 6.00) will face a Yankees lineup that projects to include Gardner, Francisco Cervelli and Kelly Johnson. The game will air on MLB.TV and Gameday Audio.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat.
Read More: New York Yankees, CC Sabathia, Derek Jeter, Brian McCann, Brett Gardner