In his final tune up before taking the ball on Opening Day, CC Sabathia couldn’t get out of the first inning without allowing a crooked number on the scoreboard. The Astros three-run first came with a leadoff walk, three doubles, and an RBI single. The first out of the inning wasn’t even Sabathia’s. It was Chris Stewart throwing out a base runner.
“(Breaking ball) was just flat in that first inning,” Sabathia said. “Just one of those things you have to work through, and start making adjustments. We went to the changeup, started getting some outs.”
Sabathia pitched four more innings and allowed two more hits. It wasn’t a particularly good start, but it will do. Monday will be Sabathia’s fifth Opening Day start for the Yankees, and it’s pretty easy to dismiss his spring numbers at this point. Honestly, the dependability of Sabathia is among the least of the Yankees problems.
“Stayed healthy, and that was the main key,” Sabathia said. “I’m feeling better every day, and having no problems, so I’m excited. … No worries about the arm at all. I’m looking forward to Monday.”
“I feel like he’s ready to go,” Joe Girardi said. “We’ve gotten him built up. I think he threw about 85 (pitches). He threw a few more in the pen tonight. He’s had a couple of back-to-back, 95-95 pitch count, so I feel like he’s ready to go.”
• What’s the plan for Lyle Overbay? “He’s been a very good first baseman over the years, and he’s going to get an opportunity to show us what he can do,” Girardi said. “… See how he moves around, see how he swings the bat, try to make a quick judgment.”
• What’s the plan for Derek Jeter? “Probably won’t see him tomorrow,” Girardi said. “Then we’ll try to get him back out. Derek’s the kind of guy I think who really pushed to get to where he could play Opening Day. It just didn’t work out. We’ll take a deep breath here, try to get him back on the field in a couple days where he feels good. He’s going to experience some of the soreness, but we think it was probably too much to have him out on the field. Now that the date has passed that he’s not going to be ready for us, slow it down a little bit.”
• Tonight’s Yankees lineup wasn’t thrown together at random. Hitting three consecutive lefties at the top of the order could be a regular thing in the regular season. In fact, everything about this lineup could carry into the regular season. “It’s something I’m definitely going to look at,” Girardi said. “That’s why I put it out there today.”
• Lyle Overbay made his Yankees debut tonight, getting into the game at first base and going 0-for-1 at the plate. “I know they’ve been watching me,” Overbay said. “There’s not a lot of opportunities out there, so I wanted to jump on this. This was an opportunity, and that’s all it was. Go out there and see what I can do, and who knows?”
• Is everyone who was healthy still healthy? “I guess so,” Girardi said. “I haven’t heard nothing.”
• Speaking of which, Brennan Boesch is listed on tomorrow’s travel roster. Looks like he’ll be back in the field tomorrow.
• David Phelps is making the start in tomorrow’s big league game. Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova and David Aardsma will each pitch at the minor league complex tomorrow.
• Brett Gardner went 2-for-3 with an RBI triple. He also drew a walk. His batting average is back up to .310. … Travis Hafner had a three-hit day including (for a while) the Yankees only hit of the night. He’s still hitting just .195 but seems to have been better lately. … Kevin Youkilis had his sixth double. … Melky Mesa singled in the 10th to give the Yankees some chance of breaking the tie, but the game ended at 4-4. … Dave Robertson, Mariano Rivera, Joba Chamberlain, Boone Logan and Vidal Nuno each threw scoreless innings of relief.
• Curtis Granderson has been cleared to run on the field. He’s even allowed to shag fly balls during batting practice, but he’s been told not to go after one that’s not hit within a few feet of where he’s standing. He obviously can’t throw yet, so he just rolls the ball back toward the infield.
• Only saw Mark Teixeira briefly today, but Meredith Marakovits reports that he’ll have his wrist examined on Monday, and if that goes well, Teixeira could lose his brace and begin strengthening exercises.
Associated Press photos