CC Sabathia being brought along slowly but is fine

Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia pitches in the bullpen

Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia pitches in the bullpen at practice during spring training at George Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida. (Feb. 16, 2013) Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

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DUNEDIN, Fla. -- CC Sabathia called being in the room at Mariano Rivera's retirement announcement on Saturday "cool."

He said he often uses that description in discussions with Rivera relating to another topic. "I always tell him, watching him as a kid and then having him save my games, it's cool," he said yesterday. "Knowing how great he is and his place in history being the best closer ever. It's awesome being on his team."

Sabathia, who has been brought along slowly because of offseason elbow surgery, will debut Friday, Joe Girardi said. Sabathia threw 52 pitches in four innings in a simulated game Sunday.

"When it counts, I want to be out there," said Sabathia, who hasn't had a problem with his elbow. "When it doesn't, I don't mind pitching on the back fields."

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Bautista on Tex

Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista is returning from a wrist injury but said it's not similar to the one that will sideline Mark Teixeira for the next eight to 10 weeks. He said he injured his tendon sheath, "not the tendon itself."

"I was going to have to have surgery regardless," said Bautista, who suffered the injury July 16. He tried to come back in August but the wrist had not healed, and he had surgery in September. Surgery has not been discussed for Teixeira, who suffered a sprained tendon.

Third manFor the second straight game, outfield prospect Ronnier Mustelier got some work at third base. He played third in Cuba before defecting in 2009. "We're going to look at him," Girardi said. "The kid can hit, there's no doubt about it." . . . Juan Rivera, an option in the outfield and at first base, went 3-for-4 and is hitting .346 . . . Andy Pettitte is set to start Wednesday.

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