TAMPA — CC Sabathia faced hitters for the first time Tuesday. The big lefthander threw 20 pitches of live batting practice on the back field during the Yankees team workouts.
Sabathia is expected to begin the season on the disabled list after having had an angioplasty this past winter. The heart procedure forced him to suspend his rehab from earlier knee surgery.
The 38-year-old who announced he is retiring at the end of the year is almost three weeks behind the other pitchers at this point.
“He’s just behind. The (knee) cleanup he had, the heart situation, he wasn’t able to rehab the knee on time like he normally would. You deal with a little bit of atrophy,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said last week. “We’re slow playing him was making sure he had all his quad strength back, all that kind of stuff. When he goes to step on the mound, he’s physically passed some tests and in a good place to do that.”
“That said, he’s still a little bit behind.”
Boone said that expecting Sabathia back in April would be “realistic.”
Sabathia will also have to serve a five-game suspension at the beginning of the season once healthy for a retaliatory pitch he threw at the Rays last September.
He will have plenty to keep him busy as he ramps up. Sabathia announced he will be working for ESPN this season across their many platforms, including ESPN NY radio.
A six-time All-Star, Sabathia won the Cy Young in 2007. He won the 2009 World Series with the Yankees and was the ALCS MVP to get them there.