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A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

Friday afternoon notes: Sabathia encouraged by mechanics and strength

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Feb 21, 2014 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

CC Sabathia

Back in 2003, the winter after his first All-Star Game, CC Sabathia was sent to Dr. James Andrews’ facility in Alabama to have his mechanics analyzed and stored in a database. Electronic sensors were attached to his body, and Sabathia went through his delivery so that it could be plugged into some sort of computer.

Ten years later, Sabathia went back. He was in Alabama in October to go through the same process, letting him compare his current mechanics to those he was using as a much younger pitcher.

“It’s the same as it was 10 years ago,” Sabathia said. “… Pretty much, except the rotation in my hips. You get old. You get bad hips when you get old, right?”

Sabathia said his arm angle was a little bit different in 2012 because he was trying to compensate for elbow soreness, but he now feels back to where he’s always been (and said his mechanics were basically the same last year as well). He said it was “everybody’s idea” that he return to Alabama to have his mechanics compared to 10 years ago. With his delivery in good shape, Sabathia focused on getting his body in good shape as well.

“It’s just strength,” Sabathia said. “I’ve been doing a lot of long toss this year, and like I said, I threw all offseason. I’m ahead of where I was last spring, maybe even the spring before, just from all the work I’ve been doing. I’m encouraged by the way I feel. My arm angle seems to be good, getting the ball out. My arm just needs to catch up with the rest of my body.”

His arm catching up to his body was a reference to the fact he didn’t think he threw enough strikes during today’s live batting practice.

“I still have a long way to go and still have some work to do,” Sabathia said. “But I feel good.”

Masahiro Tanaka· Smart question from Bob Klapisch today: Given the fact Masahiro Tanaka and Hiroki Kuroda have remarkably similar deliveries, will the Yankees keep them separated in the rotation? “You always think about what’s the best way to line up your rotation so there’s a different look every day,” Girardi said. “Obviously that’s something to consider.”

· It wasn’t that long ago that the Yankees seemed to have given up on Eduardo Nunez playing any position except shortstop, now they’re talking about him primarily as a platoon third baseman and backup second baseman. “It’s just kind of a need that we need,” Girardi said. “We need him to do that. Last year Derek was down and we needed him to play short every day, and he ended up getting hurt too. As you saw last year, we moved him to third at the end of the year and I thought he did a pretty good job.”

· Girardi said today that Francisco Cervelli, Austin Romine and John Ryan Murphy are each legitimate candidates for the backup catcher job. That said, Girardi also acknowledged that Cervelli has “more experience than all of them and he played very well in the short time that we had him last year.” Also, the fact that Romine and Murphy have options could come into play. “That’s something that’s always brought up,” Girardi said. “Obviously, we’re in this thing to win it so we got to do what we feel is best.”

· In fairness, although Girardi seemed indicate that Cervelli is a favorite for the backup catcher role — which I don’t think comes as a giant surprise — he also said this: “You’re looking for the best player.” If someone else completely outshines Cervelli, I’m not sure think experience or options will be an insurmountable factor.

· Kept off the field because of flu-like symptoms, Alfonso Soriano is expected to join the team workouts tomorrow. He did indoor work in the gym today. “I kept my distance when I talked to him,” Girardi said.

· A lot of attention on Tanaka and Sabathia today, but Ivan Nova and Hiroki Kuroda also faced hitters this morning. The Yankees seem pleased with what they saw from all four of them. “I thought today was a really good day when you think about the people that threw today and the importance to our team,” Girardi said. “I thought it was a good day. I know it’s early, but it’s what you want to see.”

Carlos Beltran· Speaking of the rotation, Girardi said he’ll probably announce his early spring starters on Sunday. The first game is Tuesday.

· Talked to minor league starter Shane Greene for a little while this afternoon. Greene landed a spot on the 40-man, and really grabbed the Yankees attention, when he significantly cut down on his walks last season (5.1 BB/9 in 2012, 1.7 BB/9 in 2013). Greene said he came into the season deciding he’d rather allow a home run than a walk, and as he kept getting positive results, his confidence pounding the zone kept growing and growing. Made 13 Double-A starts last year, so he’s probably not quite on the major-league radar this spring, but last year absolutely made him a guy worth keeping an eye on this season.

· Speaking of Greene, turns out he and Mason Williams went to rival high schools near Orlando. Greene said he was a senior when Williams was a freshman, and although they’re sure they played one another, neither can remember a head-to-head matchup.

· I’ll post some video of it later, but I thought it was cool to see Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury going through bunting drills together this afternoon.

· Random thing that stands out from the second full-squad workout: It’s impossible to see every round of batting practice, but of the ones I saw, it was Austin Romine who stood out the most. He was crushing the ball on the back field. Really impressive.

· Final word goes to Girardi: “When you see (the starting pitchers) throwing the ball well early in spring training, it’s better than the alternative, not throwing well and there being a lot of questions about it. They’re really important to our team. Pitching is so important in the game of baseball. We need these guys to be successful. You want to see them make progress every time they go out and I think we’re seeing that.”

Associated Press photos




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