The end of spring training couldn't come soon enough, and it's almost here with the Yankees getting on the bus to travel to Bradenton to play the Pittsburgh Pirates at McKechnie Field for their final road game of the year.
CC Sabathia will make the start for the Yankees in his final spring tune-up for facing the Houston Astros on Opening Day.
Manager Joe Girardi told reporters before the game that Sabathia would have a pretty light day, throwing about 45-50 pitches. The Yankees' lefty has been pitching pretty well lately, and even though you can't look into spring stats, he tossed seven shutout innings in his last start, which was also against the Pirates last Friday in Tampa.
In the start before that, he pitched five no-hit innings against the Miami Marlins in Panama.
With his velocity going down, and not looking like it's going to come back, CC is trying to reinvent himself as a pitcher, and he's been throwing the ball with improved command and a better feel for his offspeed pitches. That's the kind of pitcher that the Yankees are hoping to get this season.
Today's lineup against Pittsburgh:
- Ichiro Suzuki CF
- Eduardo Nunez 3B
- Mark Teixeira 1B
- Brian McCann C
- Zoilo Almonte LF
- Yangervis Solarte 2B
- Dean Anna SS
- Zelous Wheeler DH
- Adonis Garcia RF
Not much going on in the Yankees' lineup this afternoon, with the only regulars being Teixeira and McCann. Nunez, Anna and Solarte headline the group while this might be their last chance to prove to the Yankees that they deserve to be on the Opening Day roster. With Brendan Ryan likely hitting the DL to begin the season, the Yankees are planning to take two from the group of three listed.
Some pre-game notes:
** The Yankees announced to 10 roster cuts this morning: Preston Claiborne and Zoilo Almonte were optioned to Triple-A Scranton; Russ Canzler, Jim Miller David Herndon, Scott Sizemore, Yoshinori Tateyama, Danny Burawa, Chris Leroux and Fred Lewis were sent down to minor league camp.
Heading into the game, it would seem as if the final spot in the bullpen is down to either Vidal Nuno, Cesar Cabral and Matt Daley to win.
** Girardi told reporters that Jacoby Ellsbury is expected to play in games over the weekend, but isn't sure if it would be in minor or major league games. If the Yankees keep him in minor league games, they would be able to backdate any DL stint if he suffers a set-back.