CC back in action after bout with virus
Left-hander dazzles during BP session on Sunday; Jeter sore
TAMPA, Fla. -- After a one-day delay to combat an intestinal virus, Yankees ace CC Sabathia returned to the mound on Sunday, bringing some sizzle to his batting practice session at the George M. Steinbrenner Field complex.
The left-hander showed few signs of illness in an impressive session against the heart of the Yankees lineup, working to Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez on Field 2 of the complex.
Johnny Damon and Minor League catcher Kyle Anson were also handcuffed by the $161 million hurler, as pitchers remain ahead of hitters in the early days of camp.
"Everything felt good, free and easy," Sabathia said. "It feels good just to get out there."
Sabathia had been scheduled to pitch Saturday, but he was unable to make it to the mound, fighting a virus that he acquired from his children, who had been ill earlier in the week.
He is set to make five or six starts this spring -- the first is set for March 6 -- and Sabathia said that he is working on improving his fastball command and tinker with his cutter during these sessions.
"The consistency of his mechanics, the strikes that he throws -- it's very impressive," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We all know he's a polished pitcher. His personality is awesome. People want to be around him, he has a way of attracting a crowd, a fun-loving guy. I heard people call him the big teddy bear."
As the Yankees completed their fifth full-squad workout, Girardi noted several routine issues. Shortstop Derek Jeter was instructed not to run on Sunday because of soreness in his right hamstring, though the team captain fully expects to play when exhibition games open on Feb. 25.
"It's no big deal," Jeter said. "I did everything but run. I'm sure tomorrow you'll see me running. It's really not an issue. If I had a game today, I would have played."
Non-roster first baseman/outfielder Shelley Duncan has also been fighting shoulder tendinitis, and right-hander Jonathan Albaladejo is battling a respiratory ailment and was excused from running drills. Left-hander Damaso Marte has recovered from leg stiffness and is taking part in all exercises.
"Guys are going to go through sore periods at this time of Spring Training -- that's why we do this before we start playing games," Girardi said.
The Yankees do have one point of concern with right-hander Edwar Ramirez, who shut down a throwing session Sunday after only a few pitches. The club believes Ramirez has tendinitis in his pitching shoulder, but he will be examined Monday by Dr. Allen Miller in Tampa.
Ramirez said that he felt something similar in his final three appearances of the 2008 season and is not worried.
"We have to see first, because I don't know exactly what I have," Ramirez said. "Tomorrow, I'll see the doctors and I should know."
Girardi said that he is planning to use Brett Tomko as the Yankees' starting pitcher on Wednesday against the Blue Jays at Dunedin, Fla., beginning a sequence that will see Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy and Joba Chamberlain start New York's next three Grapefruit League exhibitions.
In planning his lineup for the first games of the spring, Girardi said that he would give consideration to playing World Baseball Classic participants like Jeter, Rodriguez and Robinson Cano more, so they are at less risk of injury for the tournament.
"We want them to be ready, because we don't want them to go there and feel like they're not prepared or not in the shape that they need to be," Girardi said.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.