He would have taken so-so Tuesday.
The lefthander was knocked around by the Pirates in the first inning, allowing four runs in the Yankees' 12-7 loss to the Pirates at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
"It was tough, terrible," said Sabathia, who gave up five runs and seven hits in 21/3 innings. "Location was just bad, I'm collapsing on the back side. Everything was up, so you just keep working and try to get the ball down."
The start was reminiscent of his second start last spring. On March 11 against the Tigers, Sabathia allowed five runs and six hits in 12/3 innings.
Tuesday, the first four Pirates had hits, with cleanup man Garrett Jones ripping a three-run homer to left that made it 4-0.
Sabathia and Joe Girardi both referred to the pitcher's problem of his back leg "collapsing," causing breaking pitches to stay up.
"Everything's going to be flat," Girardi said.
Sabathia had the same problem last spring, though he said he's not able to feel it - it's something pitching coach Dave Eiland is informing him of when he returns to the dugout.
"I'm wondering why everything's up . . . and I get back to the dugout and he's telling me I'm collapsing just a little bit," Sabathia said. "Once I get it right and start repeating my delivery, then I can feel it when it's not right."
Girardi said Sabathia felt strong, which was his primary concern.
"Every once in a while, you're going to have a bad day," Girardi said. "Get it out of the way."
Sabathia said last week that results at this stage don't matter, though Tuesday clearly bothered him. "I always say results don't matter until you get out there and give up eight runs in two innings to the Pirates, so I'll try to do better the next time," Sabathia said.
Told it was "only" five runs, Sabathia replied: "should have been eight."