VIERA, Fla. -- The three runs CC Sabathia allowed in his three-inning stint against the Nationals turned out to be more than the Yankees offense could overcome in a 3-2 loss today at Space Coast Stadium.
The five pitchers who followed Sabathia -- Matt Daley, Jim Miller, David Herndon, Cesar Cabral and Brian Gordon -- turned in five innings of one-hit, no run ball. But the Yankees couldn't manage a hit for four innings off starter Jordan Zimmermann -- Eduardo Nunez's triple with two out in the fifth off reliever Drew Storen was their first -- and despite getting an RBI single from Dean Anna in the fifth and a sacrifice fly from Brett Gardner to drive in Zoilo Almonte, who doubled off the top of the wall in the sixth, lost for the fifth time in 13 games this spring, with one tie.
The Yankees had just four hits -- Yangervis Solarte's single was the fourth -- allowing the game to be completed in a pleasant 2:36.
Joe Girardi said the Yankees radar gun clocked Sabathia's fastball at 88-89 MPH. He also said he wasn't paying close attention to the readings and only glanced at them "once or twice." And of course, he said he wasn't concerned.
“His command was a little off today; that’s really where he got in trouble," Girardi said. "A couple walks kind of hurt him today. He did OK. They hit a couple balls on the screws, but he was a little off command-wise today.”
“I thought he threw the ball well," McCann said. "I thought early on his footing slipped like the first five or six throws of the inning. It was real wet. But he settled down. He hung one pitch [to Anthony Rendon for a two-run double]. He wanted to get that more down. Other than that, I thought he threw the ball well.”
McCann said he thought Sabathia's cutter, which he has added to his repertoire this spring, could compensate for the loss of velocity on his fastball.
“It will help him command both sides of the plate," McCann said. "You get something to come in to righties, and then you get something going away from them. It’s kind of a change of speed for them. I think once he gets a better feel it will go more in, but I thought it looked good today.”
Tanaka taken out: The reviews on Masahiro Tanaka's sim game this morning were positive from Joe Girardi, via pitching coach Larry Rothschild, who stayed behind in Tampa to watch before driving across the state to Viera.
“He was OK," Girardi said. "He threw 61 or 62 pitches and everything was OK. His split was supposed to be really good today.”
By the raw numbers, Tanaka faced 18 batters over four innings, got nine strikeouts and allowed three hits. What the manager didn't mention was that one of the hits was a long home run into the right-field bleachers by Jake Cave, who said he was looking for an inside fastball, and got it. Got all of it. The other two hits were singles by Cito Culver, also on fastballs. Neither rookie was able to do anything with Tanaka's splitter.
Tex "boring but good": Mark Teixeira was hitless in three at-bats, and is hitting .125 (1-for-8) overall this spring, but he says he continues to be encouraged by how his surgically-repaired right wrist is recovering.
"I really couldn’t be happier with how I feel right now," he said. "I’ve swung at good pitches, I’m taking good swings, my BP’s have been solid. Nothing has happened that I’ve said, let’s re-assess something. It’s boring, but it’s good. It is. It’s very good."
Teixeira will not make the trip to Panama later this week because, he said, "the Panamanian training facilities aren't ideal" for his continuing rehab.
"I need a lot of extra work," he said. "I’m still doing rehab and strengthening things, getting treatment every single day. And we wanted to make sure I stayed on that schedule. If I'm the player I've always been, we're a better team."
Sweeps week: Brendan Ryan, recovering from an oblique-slash-quad-slash-lower back injury, took some swings with a broomstick today. He may progress to a mop tomorrow.
Upcoming probables: RHP Hiroki Kuroda goes against the Tigers at The Boss on Wednesday; RHP Michael Pineda pitches in a split-squad game against the Orioles at The Boss on Thursday while RHP Ivan Nova goes against the Phillies in Clearwater the same day, and David Phelps starts, with the help of the Yankees not going to Panama, Friday afternoon against the Twins.