|Mandatory Credit: Charles Wenzelberg/N.Y. Post|
As much as I'd love to think about anything but former New York Yankees' ace C.C. Sabathia, we have to examine his first start of the spring. If you thought he'd come out, get blasted, similar to how he looked last year, no, that wasn't going to happen either. I've said all along Sabathia's issue last year was two-fold: his weight and what was going on between the ears.
Sabathia has gained his weight back, and we have yet to find out if the mental aspect of his game has improved over the 2014 version. I wrote multiple times last spring and once the regular season started, that I felt he rushed back from off-season elbow surgery. I also believed his dramatic weight loss would affect his pitching. Yes and yes. What none of us knew at the time, was that his knee was falling apart slowly, and with each painful delivery he made. The Yankees finally got smart, shut him down, and saved us all a season-long grease fire.
He's back, and he's attempting to prove that last year was the low point of what's been an extremely solid career. Now I'm not here to tell you Sabathia will EVER be a Cy Young-caliber pitcher ever again. That ship has sailed. Do I believe, if he can remain relatively healthy, and gain back the confidence he lost last year, along with making the essential adjustments of transitioning from a thrower to a pitcher, that he can be a serviceable big league starter, then the answer is yes. If he can bounce back this season, and the Yankees' offense can score runs in 2015, with that bullpen, Sabathia has 12-to-14-win potential. But everything must go right.
During the first inning of Tuesday's spring debut versus the Toronto Blue Jays, he looked solid. A strikeout sandwiched by a pair of ground outs, and Sabathia seemed to be just fine. THEN, the second inning came. He left too many pitches in the zone, his velocity was down, a pair of extra-base hits along with two singles, and he looked like he did in 2014...lost. What's the difference? Sabathia appeared to be "working" on some things. Location, in and out, up and down, and yes, some good wood found the baseball. It's nothing to fret about just yet. It's a typical spring start for a seasoned veteran who isn't looking to win the Cy Young in his spring debut. Yankees fans...give it some time.
Now for the bonehead of the week. Yes, I'm speaking of former Yankees' closer David Robertson. You know, he reminds me of those people, that are in a solid relationship, the relationship ends, they claim to be just fine, and that they're better off without their partner, but cannot let it go. They stalk their former partner on Facebook, drive by their house, and make them the center of every conversation no matter who is listening, yet keep their "I'm better off without them" game face on. Dude, we know you're feelings are hurt that the Bombers didn't even make you an offer to keep you.
After the build-up of having to replace someone that is irreplaceable in Mariano Rivera, and after putting up a solid, but not spectacular season in his lone season as the closer, there is no doubt in my mind that his feelings are hurt. Robertson feels disrespected, and while the Yankees have moved on without as much as Robertson being an afterthought, the scorned ex simply can't let it go. He's made comments prior to his departure for Chicago, and he's back at it, this time discussing of all things, the team's facial hair policy. We are all well aware of the policy. We've seen ex-Yankees in recent years leave New York, and grow it out. That's their choice. When you don the pinstripes, you don't. That was the policy of the old man, and his sons, while far from carbon copies of their father, have at least kept some semblance of their father's legacy alive, albeit an antiquated one.
Instead of pissing and moaning about what the Yankees do, have done, and will continue to do in terms of team regulations, perhaps D-Rob, or D-Bag, or whatever we wish to call him these days, should concentrate on how he's going to earn that contract that was given to him by his new team. His goal should be to take what Rivera taught him over those years together, including the experience of winning a World Series title, and conveying THAT message to his youthful teammates and bullpen mates, not crying like a high school girl whose boyfriend just kicked her to the curb for a young, hotter upgrade without as much as saying thank you. Grow up.