CC Sabathia was scheduled for four innings this afternoon. He wound up pitching five scoreless and still didn’t reach his pitch count. Going head-to-head against Phillies ace Roy Halladay, Sabathia was back to his old self after a rocky start his last time out against the Nationals.
“That’s pretty much the CC we’re used to seeing,” manager Joe Girardi said.
Sabathia said he was sharp enough to work on some specific things today, throwing changeups when he was down in the count and mixing in some first-pitch two-seamers. His delivery was “cleaner,” he said.
“I have the pause in my delivery,” Sabathia said. “I was kind of floating, drifting through it (last time) instead of just staying there, gathering, and then going. We worked on that in the bullpen, and I was conscious of it in the bullpen here today and trying to translate into the game.”
• Sabathia was hit in the thigh by a comebacker but stayed in the game. He didn’t even let the medical staff check him during the game, though he did have it wrapped afterward. “I’ve got a lot of meat down there,” he said.
• This early in spring training, and the two starting pitchers — Sabathia and Roy Halladay — combined for 11 scoreless, walkless innings. “Look at the two starters we’re looking at,” Girardi said. “You don’t see it a lot (this early), but if it’s going to happen, it’s usually two starters like that.”
• Warner Madrigal was scheduled to pitch today, but he felt some soreness in his arm. “He might be shut down for a few days,” Girardi said. Madrigal is coming back from surgery, but Girardi said today’s soreness was in a different spot.
• Dave Robertson faced one hitter this afternoon, which was the plan. Robertson threw 31 pitches his last time out and Girardi just wanted to get him in the game for one hitter. Of course, that one hitter tripled.
• After Robertson, Rule 5 pick Robert Fish had a rough sixth inning. He got three outs, one of which was a sac fly and one of which was a pickoff. John Mayberry Jr. hit a two-run home run off him, one of three hits against Fish.
• Mark Prior allowed his first runs of the spring. The Phillies scored three runs against him, but two were unearned because of an error by Justin Maxwell. Prior gave up two walks and an RBI double.
• The Yankees had a total of four hits today, on apiece by Brett Gardner, Russell Martin, Ramiro Pena and Jorge Posada. All of those hits were singles.
• In his spring debut, Ronnie Belliard went 0-for-2. Given the way Eric Chavez is hitting — and the way Jorge Vazquez is hitting for that matter — it’s really difficult to imagine Belliard doing enough to make this roster.
• Brett Gardner will get one at-bat as a designated hitter tomorrow, then he’ll make the road trip to play center field on Saturday.
• Girardi said he’s planning to go on the road for tomorrow’s split squad game against the Blue Jays because he wants to see Ivan Nova pitch. He’ll leave someone else to manage the home game and watch Phil Hughes. Why not have Nova pitch at home? Hughes has already made two starts on the road, and he’s locked into a rotation spot. He gets to stay home this time.
• Alfredo Aceves was knocked around today, allowing four hits and three earned runs through 2.1 innings for the Red Sox.
Associated Press photos of Sabathia meeting with Russell Martin and Jorge Posada, and of Girardi talking to Tony Pena
Some sad news, the Yankees passed along word that bench coach Tony Pena’s mother, Rosalia Padilla Pena, passed away in the Dominican Republic. She was 79 years old, and the funeral will be tomorrow in the town of Altamira.
Some other notes and links from today.
• Justin Duchscherer shot down the idea that his past issues with depression might cause him problems in New York. “I find it funny that people say I can’t pitch in that environment, but I’ve pitched in New York before,” he told Brittany Ghiroli. “As far as my mind, I have no problem being anywhere. Physically it’s a matter of what’s the best situation for me.” Duchscherer also said he much prefers to start and wants to sign with a team that will give him that chance. The Yankees can certainly offer that opportunity.
• Linked to the Yankees strictly through speculation as a possible trade target, Wandy Rodriguez has signed a three-year deal with the Astros.
• The Yankees did reportedly sign one pitcher today, agreeing to a minor league deal with Warner Madrigal.
• The Blue Jays makeover continued today when they shipped nearly acquired Mike Napoli to the Rangers for reliever Frank Francisco. Speaking of the Blue Jays changes, Vernon Wells bid an emotional goodbye to the franchise.
• Interesting stuff over at The Hardball Times, where Chris Jaffe looked at the worst playoff game endings, including two Yankees games.
• Remember when Chris Ray was a promising young closer? Today he signed a minor league deal with the Mariners.
• The International League announced the 2011 inductees into its Hall of Fame: Steve Balboni, Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken Jr. Balboni and Boggs are both former Yankees. For the purposes of the IL, Balboni is most closely connected to the organization, having hit 92 home runs in three years with the Columbus Clippers. Balboni is the only player in IL history to homer twice in one inning in two different games.
• I had to stop listening long enough to hear Michael Kay’s interview with Brian Cashman, but I’ve spent most of the day listening to the new Decemberists and Iron & Wine albums. Good stuff, especially from the Decemberists, who didn’t do much for me with their previous album.