By Sweeny Murti
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CC Sabathia said he checked in Sunday at 290 lbs, about the same as he did last year. The trick this time is to maintain, rather than slowly gain back. While the weight gain is something that Sabathia acknowledged, he didn’t link it to his less-than-spectacular August and September numbers, nor did he seem particularly thrilled to be talking about it when he met with reporters Sunday in Tampa.
Listen here as Sabathia discusses his weight, as well as his thoughts on the six-man rotation he found himself in over the final two months.
Brian Cashman said the topic of Sabathia’s weight wasn’t an issue when the Yankees signed CC to an extension last fall. It was only something they discussed with the big fella after finalizing the new pact. There are no specific weight clauses like the ones David Wells had years ago. Cashman cites Bob Wickman in the early 1990’s as a reason why he thinks such clauses are largely ineffective.
The biggest move Cashman made over the winter was the trade that brought Michael Pineda from Seattle in exchange for Jesus Montero. While many talk of Pineda slotting in behind Sabathia as the number two starter, Cashman warns that isn’t the case just yet.
Meanwhile, Cashman addressed for the first time his own job status in the wake of embarrassing public details surrounding his personal life that have been splashed on the front pages of the New York City tabloids.
Joe Girardi’s flight was delayed Sunday morning, so his first media address was also delayed until Monday, after the first workout for pitchers and catchers. Position players will arrive Friday, and they will join in for the first full-squad workout on Saturday.
Other notes from day one:
*Cashman narrowed down his DH qualifications this way: “Optimally I would like to find a left-handed bat with a defensive component.”
What does that mean? It means Hideki Matsui and Vladimir Guerrero are out. And since Cashman revealed that Johnny Damon is not his first choice, it leaves Raul Ibanez as a clear front-runner.
The Yanks will likely move forward on a one-year, low-base salary and incentive laden deal after the A.J. Burnett deal goes through Monday.
*Mariano Rivera told Cashman he will not be reporting on time, to which Cashman said, “What am I gonna do? He’s Mariano Rivera.”
Usually, Rivera slowly works his way through camp, pitches anywhere from 7-10 innings in exhibition games, and pronounces himself ready for another season.
This year, Rivera will pitch at age 42 and is in the final year of a contract.
*Joba Chamberlain said he feels great, now 8 months removed from Tommy John Surgery. While Joba will be working to be ready by Opening Day, the Yankees will be cautious and won’t be pushing him that hard. Cashman hinted it would be June at the earliest that they would activate Chamberlain, giving him a more normal recovery time of 12 months.
“For all of our sakes we just have to be careful,” Cashman said. “It was a huge loss when we lost him last year, and it’ll be a huge get when we get him back this year. We just gotta make sure that when we get him back he’s there to stay.”
*Michael Pineda will wear #35, while Hiroki Kuroda will wear #18 (Andruw Jones wore #18 last year, but has switched to #22 this year).
Pineda will be the first Yankee to wear #35 since Mike Mussina retired at the end of the 2008 season. When told his number was finally being given out, Mussina responded with this statement via text message:
“It’s been three years. I’m honored that the Yankees semi-retired my number at all. For a player who began his career someplace else and never won a championship, I am so appreciative for what the Yankees have done for me and my baseball career. Becoming a Yankee was the best decision I could have made. Those eight seasons were awesome.”
Are you concerned about Sabathia’s weight? Is Ibanez the Yankees’ best DH option? Sound off in the comments below…