TAMPA, Fla. -- Over their years together, Andy Pettitte and CC Sabathia grew to be close friends. With Sabathia's velocity again a question, Pettitte has advised Sabathia about a possible transformation.
"The biggest thing for me is I'm trying to tell him don't worry about it," Pettitte said. "Whatever the velocity is, it is. You can't worry about that, you just need to get guys out with what you've got. So the biggest hurdle is mentally and not to worry about that."
Sabathia basically echoed Pettitte's statements the other day when his fastball hit just 88 mph.
"My fastball is what it is," said Sabathia on Saturday. "If it gets better, it will. If not, it won't. I can pitch. I'm fine. As long as I am healthy, I'll be good."
Pettitte, who matured as a pitcher as his fastball lost some oomph, agreed.
"CC's got everything it takes to be successful," Pettitte said. "I mean mentally, stuffwise. Look, when your velocity's not quite there, you have to rely a little bit more on movement and command and to be able to change speeds and do different things pitching, and he can do all those things. I think he is doing good, mentally, talking to him. He knows exactly what he needs to do.
"He is a strike thrower. Sometimes you have to have a little bit more quality when you don't have quite the velocity. If the velocity is not there, you just have to have some movement on it."
Sabathia can still be successful at 88 or 91 mph, he just has to be finer and he must accept that 94-plus mph might not be coming back.
"The less we can talk about that, that would be great," Pettitte said with a laugh.
QUESTION: To be an ace, how hard does Sabathia need to throw?