TAMPA, Fla. - CC Sabathia will be the last of the Yankees' expected rotation pitchers to appear in a spring training game.
The lefthander, coming off right knee surgery that cost him most of last season, is fine with that.
"I just want to be healthy and to be out there [this season]," Sabathia said. "So we're kind of moving at this pace we set before spring training. One step at a time."
Sabathia likely will throw a two-inning simulated game this Wednesday or Thursday, perhaps lining him up to make his first spring start the following Tuesday against the Blue Jays at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Righthander Michael Pineda, who experienced shoulder issues last year and also has been on a slower schedule, is slated to make his spring debut this afternoon at home against the Rays. Righthander Masahiro Tanaka, the expected Opening Day starter who was shut down last season because of a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow, will start Thursday night at GMS against the Braves.
The trio is being handled with care because of their respective injury issues and manager Joe Girardi is happy to do it, especially given the injuries to pitchers that already have occurred this spring, including Yu Darvish of the Rangers and Cliff Lee of the Phillies.
"Really encouraged," Girardi said. "It seems like every day there's been a big injury. Those, obviously, are the things that you want to stay away from. But CC will do a simulated game his next outing, Tanaka's [starting] on Thursday. So it's good to see. They're where we want [them] to be at this time."
Sabathia said he's not sweating when his spring debut will be, nor is he concerned about being ready for the start of the regular season.
"I don't [have any doubts]," the 34-year-old lefthander said. "Just because I haven't had a setback and I've been feeling so good. I've been able to participate in every drill and haven't had where I've needed a day [off]. So I feel great about how we're going and the pace we're moving at."
Brendan Ryan said this "feels like Groundhog Spring," which is not a good thing. The backup shortstop, who missed most of last spring training with a pinched nerve in his neck, has been sidelined for nearly two weeks with a muscle issue in his back. And while he said he feels "better" and could be back on the field doing work in a couple of days, Ryan didn't sound entirely sure that would be the case.
"I don't want it to get to the middle of March not having progressed," he said. "That's my nightmare."
Dellin Betances allowed a hit in an inning of work with two strikeouts in his first spring game. His fastball reached 97 mph . . . Adam Warren, in his second start, allowed a first-pitch homer to Nationals leadoff man Michael Taylor, but otherwise was sharp in his three innings, allowing just that one run and four hits with one strikeout.