It’s early. Anything that feels like an issue today could be resolved in a month. Strengths could become weaknesses, depth could grow thin, and players barely on the radar could end up playing a pivotal role. It’s just too early to know much of anything.
But among the early hot-button topics here in Tampa is CC Sabathia’s velocity. His fastball was topping out at 88 mph in his Saturday debut, and that raised some eyebrows for obvious reasons. Fortunately, another lefty who saw his velocity diminish in later years showed up two days later to give some perspective.
Here’s Andy Pettitte on Sabathia’s fastball:
“We talked a lot about this last year. CC’s got everything it takes to be successful: mentally (and) pitch-stuff wise. When your velocity’s not quite there, you’ve got to rely a little bit more on movement and command. And be able to change speeds and do different pitching. And I think he can do all those things.
“I think he’s doing good. Mentally, (after) talking to him, I think he’s doing good. I think he knows exactly what he needs to do. There’s not a big secret to it. He’s going to have to throw balls, maybe a little bit better quality pitches. He’s a strike thrower, but sometimes it’s got to be a little bit more quality when you don’t have the velocity. When velocity’s not there, it’s better to have some movement on it. I know he’s talking about things and doing some things to try to accomplish that. He’s too much of a competitor not to be successful. And he’s got a great club around him. He’s going to be just fine.
“The biggest thing for me is I’m trying to get him not to worry about it. Whatever the velocity is, it is. You can’t worry about that. You’ve got to get guys out with what you’ve got. The biggest hurdle is mentally. So the less we can talk about that, that’d be great for him, alright?”
Associated Press photo