The New York Yankees are happy with starter C.C. Sabathia's increased velocity to the mid-90 mph range from the high 80s last season.
The New York Yankees are happy about C.C. Sabathia's progress.
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According to MLB.com's Jamal Collier, the Yankees like the way Sabathia's fastball velocity has increased to the mid-90s after it hovered somewhere in the higher 80s during the 2014 MLB season.
Despite giving up three home runs and four runs on five hits to the New York Mets in 2 2/3 innings of work, Sabathia told Collier he's not worried about Grapefruit League results.
"I said to [Yankees pitching coach] Larry [Rothschild] I felt a lot better than I did last spring and I didn't give up any runs," Sabathia quipped. "So I'd rather get my [butt] kicked and feel like I did today then give up no runs and feel like I did last year."
Collier says Sabathia, who finished with four strikeouts, "left the outing feeling encouraged."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi told MLB.com Sabathia's increased fastball velocity ought to be a sign of good things to come during the regular season:
"We noticed that and we're encouraged about it. Whenever you have more velocity, a lot of times there's a bigger discrepancy between your fastball and your changeup. Your slider is going to be sharper because there's more arm speed. It makes a difference.
"For him it's just getting back to the consistency and getting him some work. He feels great, there's a lot of life to his arm, so I'm still encouraged. I don't worry about the numbers, I'm not going to because I think he needs to pitch; he's not pitched a lot in the last 20 months or whatever. So we've got to get him out there."
Even Mets third baseman David Wright likes what he sees from Sabathia, per MLB.com. "He looked sharp, crisp," Wright told Collier. "Stuff-wise, he looked like the C.C. I remember when he was excellent."
In another team development, Yankees outfield prospect Jose Pirela sustained a concussion after he collided with the center-field wall trying to make a play on a hit by the Mets' Juan Lagares. The latter eventually hit an inside-the-park home run, per ESPN.
Lagares' hit came on Sabathia's third pitch of the game, a 6-0 Mets victory. The ball was just out of Pirela's reach. He then appeared to hit the center-field wall face-first. Pirela fell on the ground and also appeared to hit his head as he did so. He tried to get up, but couldn't, per the ESPN update.
He told paramedics he felt dizzy as he was taken to Tradition Medical Center on an ambulance. Doctors soon released him after both a brain CT scan and cervical MRI came out negative. Despite the negative results, Pirela's concussion will sideline him indefinitely, per ESPN.
Girardi spoke to ESPN about his expectations on Pirela's condition moving forward:
"Obviously, you're concerned when a player
"He hit it pretty hard, so let's just see what the tests say.
"You just don't know. Some guys respond quicker than others. You wouldn't think a second baseman has had a significant number [of concussions] like a catcher, so sometimes the response is quicker. We have to wait and see. I hope not.
"He provides excitement with his speed, and we're moving him all around. We think he could possibly help us in a lot of different spots. That makes a player very valuable when he can play four or five different spots on a field. That flexibility is a great thing to have."
At the time of his concussion, Pirela had been hitting .370 for the Yankees.
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