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CC Sabathia ready to progress to next step

New York Yankees  pitcher CC Sabathia warming up

New York Yankees  pitcher CC Sabathia warming up his arm during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017. Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

TAMPA, Fla. — CC Sabathia is game-ready.

The lefthander pitched a two-inning simulated game yesterday afternoon and then declared himself ready to progress to the next step.

“That was good today, so [I’ll be] out there Tuesday,” Sabathia said. “Everything’s been feeling good so far, so the next step is getting in a game.”

The Yankees will host the Rays on Tuesday afternoon.

Sabathia, 36, is coming off a 2016 season in which he went 9-12 but had a 3.91 ERA, his lowest ERA since 2012. He finished the season particularly strong, going 2-2 with a 2.37 ERA in his last eight starts.

“My changeup was good, backdoor slider was good, cutter’s coming around,” Sabathia said in evaluating his simulated game. “I feel like I’m on the right track.”

n Bird goes deep again

Greg Bird certainly is putting questions about his shoulder to rest. The 24-year-old hit his third homer in two games, launching a two-run shot over everything to rightfield in the fourth inning. Gary Sanchez preceded the homer with a double.

Bird, who missed all of 2016 while recovering from shoulder surgery, has a .417/.462/1.333 slash line, three homers and two doubles in five games.

n Turn two

Adam Warren, among the five pitchers vying for the last two rotation spots, made his second exhibition start last night against the Orioles. The righthander, who pitched two perfect innings with two strikeouts last Saturday against Philadelphia, made one mistake last night but otherwise looked sharp in three innings. He allowed one run and one hit — Caleb Joseph’s homer — walked one and struck out three.

“Felt like I got the slider going and the changeup was really good,” he said. “As a starter, that’s an important pitch for me.”

n All good

James Kaprielian, who described himself Tuesday as a “caged bull” in his desire to get on the mound — only to have general manager Brian Cashman say he’ll likely be relegated to simulated games — smiled about the different messages.

“We’re all on the same page,” said Kaprielian, who is healthy but being brought along at a slower pace because of the right flexor strain that cost him most of 2016. “I understand we’re taking things slow, and my job is not to really question what’s going on. My job is to take care of my work every single day I show up. So for me, I’m on board with whatever they want me to do.”

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