CC Sabathia ‘excited’ to finally get back on mound in real game

Written By kom nampuldu on Kamis, 09 April 2015 | 18.18

Forget what happened Monday afternoon and Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium. Opening Day is Thursday to one rather important piece of the Yankees landscape.

"It's my opener," said CC Sabathia, who will make his first regular-season start since last May 10.

"I'm excited. Especially getting the chance to pitch at home, first start. It'll be fun," Sabathia said before the Yankees' 4-3 victory over the Blue Jays. "It's similar, just having a year off and not pitching since May, it's going to be fun, especially to be home and have that energy."

Sabathia, 34, underwent right knee surgery last July and traveled the road back through spring training where his numbers (0-3, 8.10 ERA , 14 hits in 10 ¹/₃ innings) were as attractive as low tide. But throw the numbers out. Only one thing mattered for Sabathia, who is one win away from 24th place on the lefty career victory list (his next win will tie him with Vida Blue at 209).

"Just the health and the way I felt out there. I know I didn't have the best results but just getting back into game situations and getting used to being out on the mound. It felt pretty good," Sabathia said of his spring.

And now the numbers will matter. Sabathia said it feels like he hasn't pitched since the Eisenhower Administration.

"Yeah, it does. It really does feel like it's been a long time since I've been around the team and watched a game, a full game the other day," Sabathia said. "It's been a lot of fun, so hopefully [Thursday] we can get it going."

The left-hander said he just wants to go out and be himself. Juices and adrenaline won't flow. They'll gush. But that's OK.

"I don't want to try to taper myself back. If I'm too amped up, I'm too amped up. It is what it is. I don't want to put anything on myself. No governor," said Sabathia, who has moved into Derek Jeter's locker stall in the Yankees' clubhouse — "it's right next to the exit."

Pitching coach Larry Rothschild admitted "as long as it's under control, that's a good thing to have" regarding added adrenaline for Sabathia in his initial start.

The Yankees rotation is a thing of wonder this season — as in everybody wonders if the assorted parts, Sabathia's knee, Masahiro Tanaka's elbow, Ivan Nova's elbow, Michael Pineda's shoulder — will survive. So every outing means added scrutiny. Rothschild will watch for the obvious, but this is CC Sabathia not some raw recruit.

"A little bit of the rhythm in his delivery and things like that. But he's pitched for a long time and he knows himself pretty well so you kind of have to depend on him making the adjustments he needs to make quickly," Rothschild said.

The preparation is behind him. Sabathia made his final adjustments and is ready to square off against Toronto's 21-year-old lefty rookie Daniel Norris.

"Just playing catch and getting out there throwing the ball out in front. Playing catch these last couple games and throwing a bullpen," Sabathia said. "I really made sure I could get a feel for my fastball and make sure I can put it in good spots."


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