“I immediately felt good and felt comfortable after the first couple of pitches,’’ he said. “I was excited to be back up there on the mound.’‘
Sabathia limited his repertoire to fastballs and changeups—he normally does not throw any breaking balls in his first bullpen of any spring training—and gave catcher Francisco Arcia a workout on several deliveries that skipped in the dirt in front of home plate.
But it wasn’t command or pinpoint control Sabathia was looking for, merely the absence of pain.
“Just playing catch I could feel the difference,’’ he said. “It felt even better out on the mound.’‘
Although he denied it during last season, Sabathia was plagued by pain in his pitching elbow for much of last season, a condition that might have contributed to his diminished effectiveness in the second half, when he lost three of his last five regular-season starts and got bombed in the decisive Game 4 of the ALCS against the Detroit Tigers.