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BC-BBA--Yankees-Sabathia,1st Ld-Writethru

March 21, 2019
Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — New York Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia has returned to the mound for the first time since undergoing a heart procedure in December.

Sabathia allowed one run and two hits over two innings on Thursday in a minor league exhibition game, striking out three for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre against Toledo, Detroit’s Triple-A affiliate.

Sabathia, who has announced he’s retiring after the season, said he “felt great” after his 26-pitch outing.

“No problems. I felt like the ball was coming out of my hand pretty good. All positive,” Sabathia said.

Tigers center field prospect Daz Cameron, the son of former major leaguer Mike Cameron, had a first-inning double and Hector Sanchez hit an opposite-field homer to right during the second. Sabathia will make another minor league appearance on Tuesday against Philadelphia Phillies prospects. He expected to miss his first two or three regular season starts.

“He’s progressed pretty well,” Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild said. “We just need to build him up. He’s going through an early part of spring training.”

The 38-year-old had a stent inserted this winter after a blockage was found in an artery from his heart. He has had chronic right knee problems that required several operations. Sabthia also has a five-game suspension pending for hitting the Tampa Bay Rays’ Jesus Sucre with a pitch in his final start last season.

The 2007 AL Cy Young Award winner with Cleveland, Sabathia is 246-153 with a 3.70 ERA and 2,986 strikeouts in 18 major league seasons. He was 9-7 with a 3.65 ERA in 29 starts last season. This will be his 11th year with the Yankees.

NOTES: Two-time All-Star Gio Gonzalez, signed to a minor league contract on Wednesday, is scheduled to pitch for the Yankees on Saturday. ... First baseman Greg Bird was scratched from Thursday’s road game against St. Louis due to right elbow soreness. He was hit by a pitch on Wednesday. ... The Yankees reassigned OF Billy Burns, OF Matt Lipka and C Ryan Lavarnway to minor league camp.

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