TAMPA, Fla. -- All good news out of the back field this morning. The ace and the closer combined for a simulation of what the Yankees hope they will do on a regular basis during the season. Here's the deal:
CC FEELS GOOD: CC Sabathia threw two innings of a simulated game to three hitters, 21 pitches in the first inning, 25 pitches in the second, plus pitchouts, and declared his surgically-repaired elbow pain-free. "I’m excited that I don’t have that little pain in there anymore and just getting used to not dealing with it," he said. "When it’s there, you kind of compensate for it a little bit and try not to feel it. Now I can get back to throwing with my normal throwing motion and not feeling that little pain." CC said he expects to throw another bullpen before getting into a real game.
MO FIELDS: Mariano Rivera threw a simulated inning between CC's innings, 18 pitches in all, but the big news is he looked like his old cat-like self coming off the mound to cover first on one bunt, fielding another, and cutting off a bounced between the mound and first base. In fact, Mo was so excited about it, he decided to interview the beat crew on how he looked. "What did you guys think, huh? How was the fielding?," he said. "That's what I wanted to do, field some bunts, go after some balls in between first and the mound, and just plant and throw. It was perfect."
SWARMING BLUE JAYS: The Blue Jays sent their A-team to Tampa today, including Jose Reyes, Jose Bautista, Melky Cabrera, Edwin Encarnacion and the rest of what could be their opening day lineup. RHP Brandon Morrow is starting. The Jays can't win the AL East today, but if they wind up winning it in the regular season, it will be with the guys they sent here today.