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After shaky spring, Sabathia says he's good to go

CC Sabathia #52 of the New York Yankees

CC Sabathia #52 of the New York Yankees pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates. (March 14, 2010) Photo Credit: Getty Images

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - Ready or not, Boston, here he comes.

CC Sabathia, who will start Sunday night's season opener against the Red Sox at Fenway Park, had an uneven final spring start Tuesday in the Yankees' 9-6 loss to the Braves.

Sabathia gave up five runs and eight hits in 42/3 innings.

"I got my pitches in," said Sabathia, who was on a pitch count of 75. "Changeup was up today. Just one of those days but I definitely got my work in so I'll be ready Sunday."

Sabathia finished the spring with a 7.23 ERA, though his problems Tuesday weren't the ones that bothered him earlier.

"Just making sure my delivery was right," Sabathia said of the primary goal he wanted to accomplish this spring. "The first couple starts it was all over the place, even in the bullpen, so I feel a lot better with that. Pitches are making the actions they're supposed to make. My cutter's going down and in and my changeup was up today, but I threw some good ones, too, so I think I got that accomplished."

Former Yankee Melky Cabrera opened the game with a ground-rule double and Clint Sammons hit a two-run homer off Sabathia in the fourth. He also allowed doubles to Chipper Jones and Troy Glaus.

"Felt good today but my changeup was up and was just kind of all over the place with the two-seamer," Sabathia said. "So I'll work in the bullpen and try to get it corrected for Sunday."

Manager Joe Girardi isn't concerned. "I thought he threw the ball better today," Girardi said. "CC is CC. He's going to be fine."

And, the lefty said, nervous come Sunday.

Sabathia on the outside shows the emotion of a toll collector but said the butterflies will arrive before Sunday's game, just as they do every season opener.

"I try not to show it; we'll have to see," Sabathia said. "I don't know if guys can sense it or not but I just try to stay calm and keep my emotions . . . that's the biggest thing to me is not to get riled up and keep my emotions under check and don't try to overthrow."

Sabathia recalled his feelings last April 6 in the clubhouse before the season opener in Baltimore, a 10-5 loss in which he allowed six earned runs in 41/3 innings.

"It was definitely nerve wracking," Sabathia said. "I didn't get like jittery and nervous until I looked around the clubhouse and saw [Jorge] Posada's got his uniform on and Jete's got his uniform on and it says 'New York' across the front and it kind of hits you that you are a Yankee. I tell everyone that story. I didn't get nervous until I saw guys walking by with the uniform on and just realizing what's at stake. I think I'll be used to it this year but like I said, it's still Opening Day."

Sabathia knows he hasn't looked impressive this spring but said yesterday's outing didn't worry him heading to Fenway.

"No, I still have a bullpen to throw, I can get that stuff ironed out," he said. "You gotta go with what you got and it's time to go. No matter whether it's working or not I'm going to be out there Sunday. I'll just go and try to fight through it if it's not working, but I'm sure getting in the bullpen with Dave [Eiland] we can get some things corrected."

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