Sabathia pitches 5 innings in spring debut
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — New York ace CC Sabathia got a little stronger with each inning in his spring training debut.
After a rough first inning, Sabathia worked four more innings, allowing two runs and eight hits in the Yankees’ 7-3 victory over the Miami Marlins on Friday.
The Marlins scored twice on three hits and a walk in the first against Sabathia, who also was charged with an error on an errant pickoff attempt to first. Rob Brantly had an RBI single during the inning.
“He got better as the day went on, so I was happy,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
The left-hander struck out two and walked one in his first game since arthroscopic surgery Oct. 25 to remove a bone spur from his left elbow. Sabathia pitched in several simulated games before making the start Friday.
“Felt pretty good first time out,” Sabathia said. “Didn’t have any problems. Changeup was good. Fastball command needs to be a little better.”
Sabathia, the expected opening day starter, had two trips to the disabled list last year. A strained left groin kept him out from June 24 to July 17 and an inflamed left elbow sidelined him from Aug. 8-24. The 32-year-old was 15-6 with a 3.38 ERA, his fewest regular-season wins since 2006, and 2-1 in three playoff starts.
“The last few innings, his fastball command was really good,” Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli said. “His slider was amazing the whole game.”
Derek Jeter played shortstop flawlessly for the second time since ankle surgery last fall. The New York captain went 1 for 3, hitting a single between short and third in the third.
“Everything is good,” Jeter said. “Making steps. No problems. Honestly, it’s like any other spring training. You get more action as you move along.”
Cervelli hit a solo homer in the second, and Travis Hafner had a two-run shot in the third off John Maine. The Miami starter gave up three runs and three hits in three innings.
“I got into patterns,” Maine said. “Threw too many fastballs. On the otherhand, it’s something I do need to work on. Fastball wasn’t all that great. That’s why I have to go out there and do it.”
Maine, who hasn’t pitched in the major leagues since 2010 and is competing for a spot in the Marlins’ rotation, had two strikeouts and two walks.
Jeter fielded Adeiny Hechavarria’s second-inning grounder and threw him out at first. The 38-year-old star caught a liner by Austin Kearns in the third and doubled Kevin Kouzmanoff off first base, and also threw out Kearns on a fifth-inning grounder.
Another Miami starter, Jacob Turner, struggled in a three-inning outing Thursday in a minor league game on the Marlins’ offday.
“He had three walks, it was definitely a concern,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said.
In two big league games, Turner has allowed six runs over 3 1-3 innings.
Redmond was impressed by right-hander Steve Cishek’s outing — retiring all four batters, including two strikeouts — for the United States in Thursday night’s World Baseball Classic 3-1 loss to the Dominican Republic.
“Cishek did well,” Redmond said “Came in and threw a lot of strikes. He was nasty. That’s good because it’s helping prepare him for the season.”
New York third baseman Ronnier Mustelier left in the fourth with bruises on both legs after running into a railing near the stands on Juan Pierre’s foul ball. Girardi doesn’t expect Mustelier to play until Tuesday.
“He hit it pretty hard,” Girardi said.
Through a translator, Mustelier said his right knee was sore, but that overall he was fine.
NOTES: Marlins INFs Placido Polanco (oblique) and Greg Dobbs (calf) could play in Saturday’s game against the New York Mets. ... Yankees reliever Boone Logan (sore elbow) is scheduled to throw batting practice for the first time Saturday. ... Former major league RHP Chris Bootcheck joined the Yankees for the game from their minor league camp. He is on the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre roster. ... Miami 3B Nick Green had three hits. ... New York C Chris Stewart, who has shoulder soreness after being hit by a foul tip Wednesday, is expected to play Saturday. ... Yankees GM Brian Cashman, who recently broke his right leg and dislocated the ankle while skydiving in Florida with the U.S. Army Golden Knights, is using a non-mechanical scooter that Jeter utilized during his rehab after his surgery last year.