CC Sabathia hasn’t had a particularly good spring. It’s absurd to get too caught up in spring numbers with a guy like him, but tonight’s four-inning, three-run start left him with an even 5.00 ERA for the spring. He’s allowed 21 hits in 18 innings, and today his fastball command was sloppy.
“Usually I’m not that bad,” he said. “Today, I was bad. I’ll work hard in my bullpen to make sure I’m getting my fastball where it needs to go. … It’s always a worry for me. That’s always the biggest issue for me; fastball command. It wasn’t there today, but that’s no reason for me to feel like it won’t be there Friday.”
In this case, track record speaks much more loudly than exhibition statistics. Sabathia has said time and time again that his arm feels great. He just hasn’t been as sharp this spring.
“He also probably didn’t say he doesn’t feel great today either,” Joe Girardi said. “He’s physically a little bit under the weather. I think it’ll be there when the bell rings, I really do. Guys probably want to have a good tune up and feel great, but there’s a different adrenaline that comes during the regular season, and I have a feeling it will be there.”
Sabathia came into camp as the Yankees Opening Day starter, and short of an injury, there was nothing that could have happened in the past month to change that. For some guys, spring struggles send up a red flag. For Sabathia, until proven otherwise, it’s just a note along the way.
“I’ll be ready on Friday,” Sabathia said. “Would I like to have had more success? Sure. But my pitches are doing what they’re supposed to. I’m ready.”
• I was surprised, but the Associated Press actually took a picture of Brian Cashman telling Ozzie Guillen about all of the Josh Johnson trade suggestions that have been emailed to me in the past two years.
• Nick Swisher admitted that he didn’t go all out for a foul ball down the right field line, but that was according to plan. Swisher’s been told to be smart about his sore groin these last few days. “I would not say I’m 100 percent,” he said. “But I’m close.”
• Swisher said he doesn’t feel anything when he swings or when he’s running in a straight line, but he’s still a little cautious when he has to cut and turn. His timing is “absolutely” ready for Opening Day, and his 2-for-3 afternoon (including a home run) seemed to be proof. “I felt great, man,” he said. “I’ve been itching to get back in the lineup. Today I just felt like a little kid out there.”
• Dave Robertson said he feels good, and he’s scheduled to pitch tomorrow after taking two days off. His last outing spanned two innings at the minor league complex.
• Maybe there’s a reason Mariano Rivera never goes on the road in spring training. He played today and gave up a run in the fifth inning. It was Rivera’s first earned run in a spring training game since 2008, ending a streak of 28 spring innings without one.
• Apparently the Marlins had some problem with the roof last night and the infield got soggy, which made it play like “sand” according to Swisher. Alex Rodriguez also said it wasn’t perfectly normal. If you saw some guys running a little slower than usual, that’s probably why.
• On the whole, players seemed impressed by this place. No one had a bad word to say about it. Even the bad infield was seen as more of a fluke that a problem. “Fair. Normal,” Girardi said of the way the park played. “The ball seemed to carry to left field a little bit and they said it really carries when the roof is opened, and I think it will be open tomorrow night as long as we don’t have any weather issues. I’d kind of like to see it both ways, and we’ll get that opportunity. It’s a nice ballpark.”
• Derek Jeter had two hits today and is batting .342 for the spring. … Raul Ibanez continued his late-spring surge with a double. His average is up to .167, a jump of well over 100 points from where it was not so long ago. … Swisher hit the only Yankees home run, but Jeter, Ibanez, Robinson Cano, Brett Gardner, Eduardo Nunez, Bill Hall and Eric Chavez all doubled in the game. … Doug Bernier wound up at first base and made an error on an awkward play. He’s rarely played there, and I find that utility infielders always talk about how much harder it is to play first base than it might seem. Some plays there are just a little bit awkward and unlike any other position.
• Rivera, Rafael Soriano and Cory Wade each gave up runs out of the Yankees bullpen. The only Yankees pitchers to go without a run were George Kontos (1.1 innings) and Juan Cedeno (.2 innings), who closed out the game. Kontos got the win and Cedeno got the save.
• Rodriguez was asked whether this new ballpark, had it been built a few years ago, might have tempted him to sign with the Marlins. “I really, really love living here,” he said. “I love playing in New York.”
Associated Press photo