It was CC Sabathia‘s first Spring game of the 2014 season, and it didn’t take long for his fastball to be the center of attention.
During yesterday’s game, the YES Network clocked Sabathia’s fastball at 88 MPH, three miles per hour less than what his fastball was last season. Despite the low velocity, CC’s not discouraged by it, saying he feels healthy even though the velocity isn’t where it needs to be yet.
“My fastball is what it is,” Sabathia said. “If it gets better, it will. If it’s not, it won’t. I can pitch. I’m fine. As long as I’m healthy I’ll be good.”
Sabathia admits he made changes in his delivery last season while trying to protect his surgically repaired elbow, but the changes caused inconsistency.
I threw a lot of fastballs last year in the dirt,” Sabathia said. “It was just about getting my release point back and getting a good feel. I was able to do that with a football, throwing a football, and then carry that over to the baseball this year in the offseason throwing program, so I feel good. … (Today) the ball stayed true. I was behind everything, and my arm feels great.”
Sabathia and Joe Girardi don’t want to have daily discussions about Sabathia’s fastball, and Girardi probably is well aware the days of Sabathia throwing 94 MPH are long gone. All Girardi is concerned about is Sabathia’s health and his ability to get batters out.
“That was something people wanted to make a ton about last year, and I’m not going to make much of it,” Girardi said. “To me, if he’s downhill and locating, I don’t care what his velocity is. He’s going to get people out.”
— Michael Pineda is throwing a simulated game today. To clarify, the simulated game has nothing to do with Pineda’s recent injury, it’s just what Joe Girardi wanted to start him with. The next time Pineda throws, it will be in an actual Spring Training game. Girardi said all the starters will throw a simulated game at some point this spring.
— Today’s game will broadcast on MLB.TV and it will have a delayed broadcasting on the MLB Network. Vidal Nuno will get the start for the Yankees.
— Girardi decided to play Brian McCann back to back days yesterday and Friday because tomorrow’s starter is Ivan Nova. Nova is a lock to make the Major League rotation while Nuno has an outside chance, and Girardi wants McCann to familiarize himself with the Major League starters.