It’s a terrible picture but trust me, that’s A.J. Burnett, CC Sabathia and Javier Vazquez gathered with two coaches after taking fielding practice on one of the back fields here at the Yankees spring training complex.
In big league camp, all of the pitchers are divided into two groups. The first group threw bullpens today, the second group will throw tomorrow. Sabathia, Burnett and Vazquez are part of Group 1 – the group that threw today — but the three Yankees starters did not pitch.
The Yankees have slightly changed the plan for their starters and will line them up in the order that they will start games during the exhibition schedule. Sabathia will start the spring opener, and he’ll throw his first official bullpen on Saturday*. The rest of the rotation will fall in line behind him.
The Yankees are holding back their starters very slightly because of the extra workload in the postseason (Javier Vazquez is being held back as well after his highest innings total since 2003). Joe Girardi also decided it doesn’t make much sense to have his starters throw bullpens as a group when they’re never going to pitch as a group.
“We want to make sure that they are absolutely physically prepared to go out and have that same kind of workout,” Girardi said. “Really, the only difference is maybe one side session for each of them.”
* Technically, Sabathia threw a light bullpen session yesterday, but the Yankees consider that part of his spring training preparation, not part of his spring training schedule.