Saturday’s camp notes: Rivera, Sabathia on the mound
CC Sabathia admitted to experiencing some jitters as he entered the bullpen at George M. Steinbrenner Field this morning, with the ace preparing to pitch off a mound for the first time since having surgery on his pitching elbow in October.
Mariano Rivera – in what should be a surprise to no one – felt no such nerves as he worked off the hill, firing about 30 pitches as the Yankees closer continues to hit every checkpoint in his return from last year’s knee injury.
“There’s no peace of mind where I say, ‘OK, I feel good now,’” Rivera said. “No. I knew the [work] that I put in during the whole year. It’s been a hard job. I always tell you guys that I trust myself. I trust God first, then I trust myself. I’m capable to do this. I was expecting this. It feels good. Everything feels good.”
Sabathia joked that he “probably didn’t throw a strike” during his entire 29-pitch session, but a lack of command isn’t out of the ordinary for Sabathia at this point in the spring. He said that it usually takes two or three bullpens to hit spots correctly, but Sabathia came away most encouraged by how it felt to throw without discomfort.
“I got a little nervous when I first got up there, just because it’s the first time doing it,” Sabathia said. “I hadn’t been up there and didn’t know how I was going to feel. I immediately felt good and felt comfortable after the first couple of pitches.”
Yankees manager Joe Girardi remains optimistic that both Rivera and Sabathia will be ready and active on the big league roster for Opening Day.
“I’m pretty confident they’re going to be OK, but I always say in the back of my head, I want to see them out there before I make that assumption,” Girardi said. “But I feel pretty good about it just because I know where they are in their rehabs.”
- Can’t make it up: If you had wandered into the Yankees’ clubhouse around 10:30 this morning, you would have seen a Joba Chamberlain cramming his 6-foot-2 frame into a tiny laundry cart and begging Boone Logan to push him around. Chamberlain isn’t a coffee drinker, but if he were, the appropriate advice might be to switch to decaf for a while.
- Here’s the full list of pitchers who threw live batting practice sessions this morning: David Phelps, Nik Turley, Nick Goody, Juan Cedeno, Jim Miller, Adam Warren and Brett Marshall. The list is particularly notable if you’re wondering who might be on the mound for the Yanks’ first few exhibition games, since they’re slightly ahead of the others right now.
- Breakdowns for bullpen work this morning included: Andy Pettitte, Rivera and Sabathia; Phil Hughes, Hiroki Kuroda and David Robertson; David Aardsma, Dellin Betances and Clay Rapada; Tom Kahnle, Ryan Pope and new acquisition Shawn Kelley.
- Francisco Cervelli confirmed that he is not participating in the World Baseball Classic. Cervelli was listed on Italy’s provisional roster but decided to stay in Yankees camp with hopes of winning the starting catching job.
- Yankees position players are due to report in camp tomorrow, with player physicals beginning at 7 a.m. Roster hopeful Juan Rivera stopped by the clubhouse this morning.