Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
The Official Site of the New York Yankees
news

Yankees News

Sabathia, Gonzalez get in work on Thursday 

@BryanHoch
March 21, 2019

TAMPA, Fla. -- Facing an opponent for the first time since his December health scare, CC Sabathia rolled back the clock, returning to Minor League camp to work two innings against the Tigers' Triple-A lineup on Thursday afternoon. With pitching coach Larry Rothschild looking on, Sabathia threw 26 pitches at

TAMPA, Fla. -- Facing an opponent for the first time since his December health scare, CC Sabathia rolled back the clock, returning to Minor League camp to work two innings against the Tigers' Triple-A lineup on Thursday afternoon.

With pitching coach Larry Rothschild looking on, Sabathia threw 26 pitches at the Yankees' Player Development Complex. The 38-year-old southpaw struck out three while allowing two hits, including a home run to catcher Hector Sanchez.

"It felt good. No problems," Sabathia said. "I felt like I was letting the ball come out of my hand pretty good. All positive. You've got to throw the results out and go on how you feel. I feel great, so I'm just ready for the next step."

That will come in five days, when Sabathia is scheduled for another Minor League start, part of his progression as he aims to join the big league rotation in April. Sabathia is returning from an angioplasty as well as an arthroscopic right knee cleanup performed in October.

"I'm two innings in," Sabathia said. "Just keep going. The slider was a lot better than it has been all spring, that's encouraging. The changeup was good, the two-seamer was good. It's just finding the lane on the cutter. After the homer, the cutter got better."

Sabathia said that it "was a little surreal" to face Daz Cameron, the 22-year-old son of former Major Leaguer Mike Cameron, but otherwise he does not generally put much stock into what transpires within chain-link fences.

"Nineteen years in now, I can turn it up when I need to," Sabathia said.

A cut above

Gio Gonzalez has been tinkering with a cutter, which the veteran left-hander debuted on Thursday. Gonzalez was pleased to receive positive feedback on the pitch from both Rothschild and special instructor Ron Guidry, who observed the bullpen session.

"At some point in your career, you have to change it up a little bit and see what else works," Gonzalez said. "I figured this would be the pitch to work with. You see some of the young lefties using it a lot. CC throws it as much as you can. To me, it's a plus. It's a pitch that helped him out throughout his career."

Sabathia, who refined the pitch with Andy Pettitte's assistance in order to compensate for a lack of velocity, said that it could help Gonzalez this season.

"The biggest thing is trusting it," Sabathia said. "Once I committed fully to the cutter and trusted that it was going to work and I could get outs with it, it's gotten better and better every year."

Gonzalez, who agreed to a Minor League deal with the Yankees this week, could have his first opportunity to showcase the pitch in a game on Saturday. Gonzalez will take the mound in either the big league exhibition against the Blue Jays or in a Minor League contest.

"I think he's pretty close to being ready right now," Rothschild said. "From our conversations, he's thrown up to 100 pitches in sim games and faced hitters. I thought overall the command was good. I don't get overly pleased on sides, but it was good to see that his arm works and stuff like that."

Hip to be square

One day after making a fifth-inning exit from an exhibition against the Astros in West Palm Beach, Fla., due to tightness in both hips, infielder Tyler Wade was evaluated by the Yankees' medical staff and said that he has regained his full range of motion.

Wade blamed an awkward sleeping position on the team bus for the tightness, and said that he could have completed the game if necessary. Wade said he has no concerns about being ready for Opening Day.

"I just wanted to make sure I wasn't trying to be a hero -- you leg out a double or a base hit and something else grabs," Wade said. "I just wanted to be smart and make sure I'm right. Today I feel way better, I have all of my range of motion back."

Bombers bits

• Due to Gonzalez's late arrival in camp, he missed photo day, when headshots were taken in pinstriped tops. With team photographer Ariele Goldman Hecht having returned to New York, Didi Gregorius was summoned to pinch-hit; the shutterbug shortstop conducted the shoot in the clubhouse on Thursday morning.

• The Yankees reassigned outfielders Billy Burns and Matt Lipka, as well as catcher Ryan Lavarnway, to Minor League camp following Thursday's loss.

Up next

The Yankees return home on Friday, hosting the Phillies for a 6:35 p.m. ET contest at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Right-hander Jonathan Loaisiga will start for New York, with right-hander Jerad Eickhoff going for the Phils.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and Facebook.