CLEARWATER, Fla. — Aaron Boone’s announcement on Wednesday that CC Sabathia will start the season on the injured list confirmed what had been fairly obvious from the start of camp.
After an offseason that included yet another procedure on Sabathia’s bothersome right knee as well as an angioplasty, the lefthander began spring training well behind his fellow pitchers and has been brought along at a far slower pace.
“Sounds about right,” Sabathia said Thursday of Boone’s stated timetable for his return, which is about two weeks into the regular season.
Sabathia, 38, who said in November that this season will be his last, threw his second bullpen session Wednesday and will throw his third Saturday. He arrived in camp all but expecting to start the season on the injured list.
“It’s fine,” he said. “We’re just trying to build up enough time to have enough [spring training] innings to throw. If I have to start on the [injured list], that’s fine. But the knee’s fine. It’s just a time issue.”
James Paxton, whom the Yankees will count on heavily with Sabathia and Luis Severino (rotator cuff inflammation) slated to start the season on the injured list, continued a strong camp Thursday.
The lefthander, acquired from the Mariners early in the offseason, struck out five and allowed three hits in 3 1⁄3 scoreless innings in a 6-0 victory over the Phillies. Paxton has allowed one run and struck out 10 in 7 1⁄3 innings in three outings.
“Another step in the right direction,” Paxton said. “Breaking ball came around a little bit.”
Outfield prospect Estevan Florial’s three-run homer to left-center off righthander Victor Arano in the sixth inning turned heads in the dugout.
“I mean, wow,” Boone said of the opposite-field shot. “It’s a short list of people that can hit a ball like that.”
Florial, 21, likely ticketed to start the season with high Class A Tampa, is hitting .368 with a 1.060 OPS in eight games.