CC Sabathia said today's outing was a big improvement over his previous one five days earlier against the Pirates when he gave up five runs in 2 1/3 innings.

“I felt a lot better,” said Sabathia, who allowed three runs and three hits in 4 1/3 innings today. “I felt more together. Fastball felt more crisp. Cutters were good, down in the dirt. Changeup was a lot better. I’m definitely pleased with the progress I made today. ”

Two of the runs came when Jonathan Albaladejo, who has had a rough spring (his ERA dropped from 47.25 to 45.00 AFTER he gave up three runs in 2/3 off an inning) came on and let the runners he inherited score.

Sabathia’s 57th and final pitch was lined back up the middle by Andy LaRoche and it skimmed his glove hand. Trainer Steve Donohue came out as a precaution.

"Hit the glove," Sabathia said. 

Sabathia's biggest issue in his last outing was his back side "collapsing," causing his pitches to flatten. Worse, he was not able to make any self-corrections.

"A lot better, a lot better," Sabathia said. "The last time out I couldn’t make the adjustment pitch to pitch. A couple times I felt it [today] and was able to make adjustment."

Over all, he said, a good day.

“Today it came together a little bit,” Sabathia said. “I still have some work to do but I felt a lot better out there from pitch 1 to the end.”

*** Robinson Cano said it was an "honor" to hit behind Alex Rodriguez and in front of Jorge Posada. But with hitting fifth, he said, comes responsibility. 

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“I thank Girardi for trusting me with the opportunity to hit in front of Posada and behind A-Rod,” Cano said. “But he’s [A-Rod] is a guy that you want somebody behind [who drives in runs] so they can pitch to him.”  

Cano added: "“I’m going to have to step it up early in the season.”

Meaning with runners in scoring position. Cano hit .207 with RISP last season.

He said, however, he won't change his basic approach in the fifth spot.

“Everybody can hit in this lineup,” Cano said. “Whether you hit seventh, eighth, you’re always going to find men on base. So I’m going to keep the same approach and swing and strikes.”

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*** The Yankees are off Monday with only those needing work in the trainer's room supposed to show up at the facility.

"Completely off," Girardi said.