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CC Sabathia downplays concerns over diminished velocity

Apr 1, 2013, 8:01 PM EST

Sabathia Reuters Reuters

CC Sabathia allowed four runs on eight hits and four walks over five innings in today’s season-opening 8-2 loss to the Red Sox. In doing so, the big southpaw topped out at just 91.7 mph on his fastball (according to Brooks Baseball) and relied heavily on his changeup to get outs. However, he told Mark Feinsend of the New York Daily News that he’s not concerned about the radar gun right now.

“I feel good. The arm strength will be building up as the season goes on but health wise I feel fine. I’ll keep working in the bullpen and just try to get better.

“I’m sure that the velocity will keep coming back and the arm strength will keep building up the more I throw. Health-wise, I feel fine, elbow, shoulder and everything. It’s just time I guess to build the arm strength back up.

“It’s always what it is at the beginning of the year, 88 to 92. That’s what I’ll work with right now and hopefully it gets a little better.”

Sabathia, 32, averaged 92.3 mph on his heater last season and 93.8 mph in 2011. To be fair, he is coming off elbow surgery and is typically a slow starter, so it’s probably way too soon to panic. But his velocity figures to be a prominent topic of conversation during his upcoming starts.

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  1. tfbuckfutter - Apr 1, 2013 at 8:09 PM

    Doesn’t “typically a slow starter” really mean “lazy off season-er”?

    You make that much money, show up ready to go.

  2. jdrew506 - Apr 1, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    Maybe you should check the facts before you talk. He had surgery on his elbow this off season and did not pitch much in spring training. Of course his velocity and arm strength are down right now. Then again a troll will be a troll no matter what the facts are.

    • hammyofdoom - Apr 1, 2013 at 8:28 PM

      Quote from the article:
      “To be fair, he is coming off elbow surgery and is typically a slow starter, so it’s probably way too soon to panic.”

      Try reading the whole thing mayhaps? A lot of analysts on ESPN and MLB were commenting on the velocity, and the announcers on radio and TV all mentioned that CC didn’t look right. It’s not like DJ is just making shit up here, people were talking about this

    • paperlions - Apr 1, 2013 at 8:57 PM

      Have an orange slice, don’t worry, you’ll sub-in for Bobby in the 2nd half.

  3. munsonsgravity - Apr 1, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    Remind me how this tub of goo is “elite” again.

    • bougin89 - Apr 2, 2013 at 10:09 AM

      Have you ever watched him pitch? Probably not but you can start by looking at his numbers:

      http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/sabatc.01.shtml

      How is CC not elite?

    • apgreco - Apr 3, 2013 at 4:15 PM

      Sounds like a jealous Red Flops fan to me. CC will win his 200th game this year at the age of 32. Name ONE RedSox pitcher on this staff that has a chance of winning 200 games in his career? He had elbow surgery during the off season….cut him some slack.

  4. thebadguyswon - Apr 1, 2013 at 8:22 PM

    What a total fatass. Making huge money and shows up looking like a middle-aged plumber every season.

    • bougin89 - Apr 2, 2013 at 10:15 AM

      He’s been one of the most durable pitchers in baseball but whatever. Last season was his first season since 2006 he didn’t throw at least 230 innings, he “only” pitched 200. His highest ERA since 2005? 3.38.

      I’m sure he is totally overpaid and doesn’t work on his craft at all, he’s just really lazy and “fatass”-y.

      • bigharold - Apr 2, 2013 at 11:58 AM

        Careful. facts and logic will only cause trouble around these parts.

  5. 13arod - Apr 1, 2013 at 8:26 PM

    came off elbow surgry so of course is fastball is going to be 92 untill after a couple of starts

  6. soxfan34110 - Apr 1, 2013 at 8:32 PM

    No excuse for showing up out of shape no matter who you are. Sox had a player show up to spring out of shape too in Felix Doubront. Baseball players are mostly spoiled, coddled primadonnas. Can’t pitch with a hang nail.

    • apgreco - Apr 3, 2013 at 4:19 PM

      Not sure if you can say CC is ‘out of shape’. He actually looks thinner to me than in the past. He had elbow surgery a few months ago…….and he is the opening day starter. You would expect his fastball to lose some velocity especially in the beginning of the year. I don’t see a problem here.

  7. misterchainbluelightning - Apr 1, 2013 at 8:39 PM

    Best part of the game was watching Yankee stadium emptying tout suite on opening day when it was a 5-2 game to start the 9th.

    Where’s Randy at?

    • apgreco - Apr 3, 2013 at 4:24 PM

      Funny that you didn’t mention the 35 mph winds, 20 degree drop in temperature and the rain that was coming down. But don’t worry about filling those seats at Fenway Pahk. John Henry will buy them so your ‘sellout’ streak continues. What a farce. You still pee in troughs there? LMAO

  8. j0esixpack - Apr 1, 2013 at 8:40 PM

    Red Sox fan here – as fun as it is to watch the Yankees start what could be a humiliating season, let’s not kid ourselves. Both of these teams have serious issues and could both find themselves in a horse race for last place in the division when all is said and done.

    As far as Sabathia, even if he wasn’t coming off an injury, I’d say that type of performance on a cold April day wouldn’t be surprising for any pitcher. Still, the fact that he’s the best the Yankees have to go with to start speaks volumes – but I typically expect all pitchers to struggle in the cold northeast spring.

    Still, I think the Sox are headed in the right direction now, while the Yankees are looking at some albatross contracts of an aging roster, which on the plus side is eligible for AARP hotel discounts when they hit the road.

    • bigharold - Apr 2, 2013 at 12:11 PM

      Once Sabathia started for the Yankees, went 5 innings, gave up SIX runs and the Yankees lost. Sound familiar? The first game he ever stared for the Yankees in 2009, .. he went on to be 19-8 that year. Sabathia starts slow every year so while yesterday wasn’t fun it’s neither is unusual.

      I like the Yankees starters, lead by Sabathia and a really like their pen. It remains to be seen just how they are going to score runs though. All they need to do, however, is not let the division get away from them before Jeter, Garnderson, Teiveiria and A-Rod get back to supply some fire power. Then we’ll see what the Yankees are capable of.

      • apgreco - Apr 3, 2013 at 5:43 PM

        bigharold: you are SPOT ON!! The only way the yankees win this year is via their starters and pen which is different than in past years. I think the division is wide open.

  9. hpt150 - Apr 1, 2013 at 9:03 PM

    Given the decimal (91.7) this obviously wasn’t the stadium readout but if it were, then CC’d be in even bigger trouble as Lester hit 97 and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t throw that hard. 1 down, 161 to go.

  10. turdfurgerson68 - Apr 1, 2013 at 9:18 PM

    As a Red Sox fan even I think its ridiculous to speculate after one game.

    I’m not a CC fan at all, but gimme a break; he’s one of the best pitchers in the game (glad he lost)

  11. gabrielthursday - Apr 1, 2013 at 11:25 PM

    According to pitch f/x, this was the slowest Sabathia has ever been with his fastball over a start. As late as 2011 he had multiple starts where his least fast fastball was faster than his fastest fastball today.

    It’s early in the season, and he had the elbow surgery, but this is still a bad sign, especially given his velocity loss from 2011 to 2012.

  12. 13yrsmlbvet - Apr 1, 2013 at 11:27 PM

    The sun doesn’t shine on the same dog’s ass everyday. CC is still an elite pitcher, but there is no doubt his off season throwing program was delayed and his fundamental pitching preparation was cut back as well. I”ll be he’ll be where he needs to be soon. My concern is how Lester can’t get more than 5 IP vs that lineup.

    • nbjays - Apr 2, 2013 at 7:52 AM

      I’d give you an extra thumbs-up if I could simply for the Catfish Hunter quote. :-)

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