CC Sabathia made his spring debut yesterday against the Marlins and it went about as well as the Yankees could have hoped for. In his first game action since October surgery to remove a bone spur from his left elbow, Sabathia allowed two runs over five innings while walking one and striking out a pair.
Sabathia was touched up for two runs on three hits and a walk in the first inning, but he kept the Marlins off the board the rest of the way. He was clocked around 90 mph, down a little bit from his usual velocity, but the veteran southpaw told Bryan Hoch of MLB.com that he is satisfied with where he is at this point of the spring. Of course, the most important thing is that his elbow wasn’t an issue.
“I started letting it go early and didn’t have any problems. I felt good,” Sabathia said. “I’ll just keep building in the bullpen, make sure my fastball command gets better and just go from there.”
Sabathia is projected to make two more Grapefruit League starts leading up to his Opening Day assignment against the Red Sox on April 1.
Yankees first baseman Greg Bird gave his team tons of confidence to hand him the everyday job at first base to start the 2017 regular season, batting .451/.556/1.098 with eight home runs in 51 spring at-bats. But he’s followed that up by hitting .107/.254/.214 through the first month of the regular season.
GM Brian Cashman doesn’t have any intent to demote Bird back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. Cashman said, “It’s not even an option for me in my mind right now, at all.”
Bird didn’t start Sunday’s game against the Orioles, a 7-4 loss in 11 innings. Lefty Wade Miley started for the Orioles, prompting manager Joe Girardi to put Chris Carter into the lineup at first base. If Bird isn’t able to figure things out, Carter might have an increased role on the team.
Rays starter Chris Archer threw his first pitch to Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista behind the slugger’s back with one out in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Toronto. Bautista and Archer then had a staredown. Home plate umpire Jim Wolf issued warnings to both teams. Bautista ultimately flied out to right field and he appeared to have a quick word with Archer on his way back to the dugout.
Archer could have been exacting revenge — euphemistically known as “protecting his teammate” — because Jays reliever Joe Biagini hit Rays outfielder Steven Souza in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game. Souza was forced to leave the game and underwent an X-ray, which came back negative. He was held out of Sunday’s lineup. Biagini’s pitch did not appear to be intentional.
The Jays won Sunday’s contest 3-1 with no further incident. The two clubs meet again in Tampa for a three-game series starting on May 5, so we’ll see if Sunday was the last of the bad blood between them.