CC Sabathia made his Spring debut against the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday afternoon, and he admitted he was feeling a plethora of emotions.
His close friend and ex-teammate Andy Pettitte decided to help out at Yankees camp for a two-day stint and it had been a while since Sabathia had been on a mound. In fact, Sabathia admitted to Yankees manager Joe Girardi that he was nervous.
“I told Joe (Girardi) I wasn’t expecting that,” Sabathia said prior to the Yankees defeating the Rays 7-6 in a 10-inning affair. “I hadn’t been in there for a while.”
The Yankees had brought Sabathia along slowly this Spring after Sabathia had minor surgery on his knee over the winter. While Sabathia had a tough first inning, he pitched 22 pitches and got himself out of a bases loaded jam, he had a better second inning. In the end, Sabathia gave up only two on two hits while striking out two.
Sabathia was encouraged by his second inning, but he feels there’s more he can work on as Spring Training continues.
“The ball was down, my cutter was better in the second inning, and my backdoor slider was good,” Sabathia said. “It’s something I can build on.”
Sabathia changed his repertoire when he asked Pettitte to teach him how to use the cutter almost three years ago. Sabathia also says he has to change his style because of the point he’s at in his career.
“My style of pitching now is where (Andy’s) was at the end of his career,” Sabathia said. “It’s just necessary. I think you always evolve in this game, and as I got older I started using different pitches in different sequences. It’s kind of turned into this.”
So what did Andy Pettitte have to say about his former teammate’s outing against the Rays?