TAMPA, Fla. — CC Sabathia is set for his spring training debut.
The veteran lefthander pitched a two-inning simulated game early Thursday afternoon and afterward declared himself ready to progress to a game.
“Felt good,” Sabathia said. “That was good today so I’m out there Tuesday. Everything’s been feeling good so far, the next step is getting in a game.”
The Yankees play host to the Rays Tuesday afternoon at Steinbrenner Field.
The 36-year-old Sabathia is coming off a 2016 in which he went 9-12 but with a 3.91 ERA, his lowest ERA since 2012.
Sabathia finished the season particularly strong, going 2-2 with a 2.37 ERA over 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.”
The Yankees play the Orioles Thursday night at Steinbrenner Field. Adam Warren, among five pitchers competing for two open rotation spots, will make his second start of the spring. Closer Aroldis Chapman is slated to make his spring debut, scheduled to follow Warren to the mound.
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.
Adam Warren, among the five pitchers vying for the last two rotation spots, made his second exhibition start Thursday night against the Orioles. The righthander, who pitched two perfect innings with two strikeouts last Saturday against Philadelphia, made one mistake Thursday 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,” Warren said. “As a starter, that’s an important pitch for me.”
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 vastly 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.”