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CC's final spring tuneup and switch-pitcher makes debut

CC Sabathia was far from sharp in the Yankees 9-6 loss to the Braves in Kissimmee, allowing five runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings. But overall he declared himself set for Sunday’s season opener in Boston.

“I got my pitches in,” Sabathia said. “Changeup was up today. Just one of those days but I definitely got my work in so I’ll be ready Sunday.”

Sabathia battled delivery problems early in the spring but didn’t experience those issues against the Braves.

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

Sunday against the Red Sox in the season opener, an event that even gives Sabathia, who comes off as fairly emotionless, some nerves.

“It’s going to be exciting,” Sabathia said. “It’s always exciting when you’re going to Boston and it being opening day, it’s definitely going to be a challenge to keep my emotions under check and just try to stay calm and throw strikes.

*** The day’s other big story, and certainly the most interesting one, was the appearance of switch-pitcher Pat Venditte, who allowed one run and two hits in 1 1/3 innings. He walked one and struggled with his command but didn’t get beat up either.

“It was nice to get out there today and have an opportunity like that,” Venditte said. “I’m fortunate to have that opportunity.”

Venditte doesn’t want to be known as just a novelty act.

“It’s my job to go out there and prove I can pitch,” he said. “People are going to have their doubts when they hear something like this and it’s my job to go out there and prove that I can do it.”

Venditte pitched in Single-A Charleston and Tampa last season so this was a step up for sure. He said his nerves weren’t a problem, though catcher Jorge Posada thought they were.

“Not as bad as I thought they’d be,” Venditte, 25, said. “Jorge did a great job of keeping me calm and keeping me in the middle of the plate. I was having a tough time in the corners but he stayed in the middle and really calmed me down.”

Posada called the experience “entertaining” but also said he sees major league potential.

“He’s got good stuff it’s just a matter of developing it,” Posada said. “Today nerves probably got to him. He said, ‘I usually throw more strikes than that.’ But for me, it was fun. I think he brought everything that we thought he was going to bring. It was good.”

Posada added: “He was probably nervous as hell out there.”
 

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