TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees have been in no hurry to see CC Sabathia pitching against an opposing lineup, but as the ace left-hander made his Spring Training debut on Friday, he said there should be no issue getting ready to start on Opening Day.
Sabathia turned in his first spring start for New York on Friday, hurling five innings of two-run ball in a 7-3 victory over the Marlins at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Sabathia threw 46 of 64 pitches for strikes in the outing, scattering eight hits.
"It felt good to get out there against some different hitters," said Sabathia, who had been pitching batting practice and simulated games to this point. "I just tried to make some pitches. I felt pretty good today."
Sabathia said his changeup was good, and while his fastball command needs to improve, he had success using his cutter. He added that his velocity -- clocked around 90 mph by the television radar gun -- is just about right for this point in the spring.
"I know he's thrown simulated games, but it's in a sense his first game with those types of surroundings, and he got better as the day went along," manager Joe Girardi said. "I thought his changeup got better. I thought his slider and his fastball got better. I was happy."
Coming off October surgery to remove a bone spur from his left elbow, Sabathia said that he has long been over any fears about recurring discomfort. He has moved on to the countdown to April 1 against the Red Sox.
"I started letting it go early and didn't have any problems. I felt good," Sabathia said. "I'll just keep building in the bullpen, make sure my fastball command gets better and just go from there."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.