TAMPA — CC Sabathia’s outing didn’t go well on Sunday, but Joe Girardi isn’t putting any stock into it.
The manager made a “zero” sign with his finger when asked about his concern level after Sabathia lasted just two-thirds of an inning in the Yankees’ 10-2 exhibition loss to the Braves at Steinbrenner Field. Good thing it doesn’t count.
The 36-year-old lefty faced 10 batters and threw 33 pitches before departing and throwing 20 more pitches in the bullpen. Sabathia, betrayed by shoddy defense, was charged with six runs (four earned) on six hits.
After Ronald Acuna led off the game by reaching on an infield single, Brandon Phillips hit what should’ve been a 4-6-3 double-play ball to second, but Starlin Castro couldn’t handle it. Nick Markakis, Matt Kemp, Kurt Suzuki and Rio Ruiz followed with consecutive hits, and by the time Sabathia recorded his first out via Balbino Fuenmayor’s sacrifice fly, the Braves had a 5-0 lead.
“I have to do a better job of not letting it unravel and making pitches, getting a strikeout or another DP ball,” Sabathia said. “I have to make pitches to get us out of that inning and not turn it into six runs. If it’s two, fine. If it’s six, it’s too much.”
Sabathia had thrown two scoreless innings in his first start of the spring on March 7 against the Rays. The Yankees elected to bring him along slowly given that he underwent a cleanout procedure on his knee during the offseason.
“I thought my cutter was pretty good, and I threw some good changeups,” Sabathia said. “I went to the bullpen and everything felt good, so I’ll just be ready when it’s time to go again.”
Sabathia is coming off a resurgent 2016 season in which he went 9-12 with a 3.91 ERA and made 30 starts. The Yankees and their veteran pitcher would gladly take similar numbers in 2017. Given the uncertainty in the rotation aside from Masahiro Tanaka, they need Sabathia to keep them in as many games as possible.
The Yankees managed to commit a staggering five errors on the day — including three by Ronald Torreyes, the same number he committed all of last season as the team’s valuable utility man. They could’ve been charged with seven or eight as a team. Castro said Torreyes was down about it, prompting the veteran to provide positive words of encouragement.
“He has to be as sure-handed as anybody we’ve got,” Girardi said of Torreyes. “So when I saw that happen, I was like, ‘It’s one of those days.’ This was just a bad day.”
Monday is the Yankees’ first day off. They had been playing really well coming into Sunday, so it comes at a perfect time.
“If you don’t make plays and you give extra outs,” Girardi said, “you’re going to get beat in this league.”
Published at Sun, 12 Mar 2017 21:32:39 +0000