Although there’s obvious curiosity about Luis Severino and obvious significance in Dellin Betances, the most intriguing part of today’s first Yankees workout has to be CC Sabathia’s first official bullpen. Sabathia said he’s thrown off a mound a few times this winter, but always off a turf mound because of the snow in New York.
“Just making sure that my control is where it needs to be (this season),” Sabathia said. “(Making sure) my two-seamer is good and my changeup is better than it’s been. Just making sure that I can spot up and throw the ball where I need to. I’ve been talking to Andy (Pettitte) a lot about how he would attack guys later in his career, so I think I’ve got a pretty good plan.”
At this point, it seems clear that Sabathia wants his results to speak for themselves. He shrugged off questions about how good he can be now that he’s 34 years old and coming off back-to-back disappointments: one because of diminished results and one because of inning lost to a knee injury that eventually required surgery.
Sabathia said he’s been getting regular PRP injections through the offseason to help deal with the degenerative damage in that knee, and he’ll probably get more around the all-star break. He’s slightly adjusted workouts to protect the knee, but he said it’s not something he thinks about when he’s throwing.
“I feel like playing catch and throwing off the turf mound that I did, I went as hard as I can go,” he said. “So, no (it’s not a concern). I wanted to come down here with a clear mind and just go out and pitch. I feel like I passed every test leading up to coming down here.”
Sabathia is scheduled for 25 pitches today, all fastballs and changeups. It’s a small step toward what he’s hoping will be a big comeback.
“I don’t think as an athlete you should lower your expectations,” Sabathia said. “You just go out and see what I’ve got. I think last year pitching through spring training, I was pretty healthy, and I felt pretty good, and I pitched pretty good (in spring training). So if I can stay right there, I think I’ll be alright.”
• Dellin Betances is throwing a bullpen today, one of the biggest names getting on a mound this morning. Betances said he’s already thrown a few bullpens leading into spring training. He’s scheduled to begin facing hitters at the end of next week. Several other guys — Adam Warren, Tyler Webb, Chase Whitley, probably many others I haven’t talked to — have already faced hitters once or twice in the past few weeks.
• Esmil Rogers was stretched out as a starter in winter ball, and he said that felt natural for him because he’s always worked as a starter in winter ball. Despite having a good portion of his contract guaranteed, Rogers said he’s fully focused on making the team and doesn’t care if it’s as a starter or a reliever. He said he doesn’t feel like he has a job locked up; he knows he has to prove himself to stick around, even with $750,000 guaranteed.
• Nearly three years removed from Tommy John surgery, Scott Baker sounds incredibly optimistic. He said he feels significantly better than he did the past two springs, and that when he hit the two-year mark, there was a big difference in the way his arm felt. He’d been able to pitch for basically a year before that, but it wasn’t until he got a full two years out of surgery that his arm started to feel remotely normal again.
• Carlos Beltran is basically a full participant in today’s workout. I believe that’s because players coming back from surgery are allowed to officially report early. The other position players who are already here — guys like Stephen Drew and Chase Headley — have to do their workouts at the minor league complex. Beltran will go through drills here at Steinbrenner Field.
• Nathan Eovaldi, Adam Warren and Danny Burawa are each scheduled for early work tomorrow. Not sure what exactly they’ll be doing, the board just indicates that they’ll start ahead of everyone else.
• Still no baby for Chase Whitley. His wife is due any day now and has the cell phone number for a member of the Yankees’ security team. If she goes into labor mid-workout, Whitley will be ready to bolt.
John Ryan Murphy
Dellin Betances (to Eddy Rodriguez)
Chris Capuano (to Austin Romine)
David Carpenter (to Brian McCann)
CC Sabathia (to John Ryan Murphy)
Scott Baker (to Gary Sanchez)
Jared Burton (to Francisco Arcia)
Bryan Mitchell (to Trent Garrison)
Chase Whitley (to Kyle Higashioka)
Diego Moreno (to Murphy)
James Pazos (to Rodriguez)
Nick Rumbelow (to Juan Graterol)
Luis Severino (to Romine)
Nick Goody (to Garrison)
Jacob Lindgren (to Higashioka)
Branden Pinder (to Sanchez)
Tyler Webb (to Arcia
Associated Press photos