BRADENTON, Fla. -- CC Sabathia hit all of the necessary checkpoints in a first tune-up for his fourth Opening Day start with the Yankees, completing two innings in a 7-4 Grapefruit League loss to the Pirates on Tuesday.
"I'm just making sure I'm consistent with my delivery and being able to throw all my off-speed pitches for strikes," Sabathia said. "This spring, that's really big for me. I threw some good cutters today, I threw a good changeup. I'll just keep working."
Sabathia allowed a first-inning run on Andrew McCutchen's RBI single among three hits, walking none and striking out one.
"He got his two innings, [so we'll] just keep building him up," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We'll keep building up the arm strength for all these guys. That's the important thing, making sure they don't have setbacks and they can go every fifth day. That's the important thing for me."
Sabathia said that it was something of an adjustment getting back facing live hitters in a game situation for the first time this year.
"It's just one of those things," Sabathia said. "I don't think you ever get used to it. The batting practices with the cage around and all those things, it's not really the same as getting out here and facing guys on different teams."
Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli said that Sabathia's outing went exactly as expected.
"CC was good," Cervelli said. "He was working on his pitches, the fastball location. He's going to get better and better near the middle of Spring Training and the end. He's the same all the time. He's got to find the rhythm and the mechanics."