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CC Sabathia: Gary Sanchez is the best hitter in the lineup

The Yankees' Gary Sanchez is congratulated in the dugout

The Yankees' Gary Sanchez is congratulated in the dugout after hitting a two-run home run during the first inning of a spring training game against the Tigers on Feb. 28, 2018, in Tampa, Fla. Credit: AP / Lynne Sladky

TAMPA, Fla. — CC Sabathia said what many an opposing scout, and many a Yankees talent evaluator, have been saying for a while.

As potent and intimidating as Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are, when it comes to hitting, Gary Sanchez takes a backseat to no one in the Yankees’ lineup.

“I think Sanchy’s probably the best hitter in the lineup, you don’t talk about him at all,” Sabathia said. “He has power to all fields. He reminds me of a young Manny Ramirez. That’s enough said right there.”

Ramirez finished his career ranked 15th in homers (555) and eighth all-time in slugging (.585) and OPS (.996).

Sabathia was among three big-leaguers who threw simulated games Wednesday at the minor-league complex.

Dellin Betances and Masahiro Tanaka also threw simulated games and were pleased with their outings. Betances said his curveball was “probably the best it’s been” this spring and Tanaka, through his translator, said his “mechanics were a little more sound” than his previous outing last Friday when he allowed four runs and four hits in 1 1⁄3 innings.

As for the rotation, Sabathia thinks highly of a group that is expected to include Tanaka, Luis Severino, Sonny Gray and Jordan Montgomery.

“If we stay healthy I think we’ll be one of the best,” Sabathia said.

n Making progress

Clint Frazier, out since suffering a concussion Feb. 24 against the Pirates, said he felt “much better” after riding an exercise bike and playing catch, his first baseball activity in over a week. Aaron Boone said Jacoby Ellsbury (right oblique strain) “really started to ramp some things up” physically Wednesday but had no timetable for a return.

With David Lennon

in Port St. Lucie

New York Sports