BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — Yankees manager Joe Girardi and his staff have made evaluating a pitcher's performance on more than just statistics a sort of mantra this spring. He stuck to that Sunday.
Take CC Sabathia's outing against the Pittsburgh Pirates in New York's 10-5 loss: 57 pitches, 29 strikes, 28 balls.
But here's what Girardi had to say about Sabathia's mechanics: "He was very sound today. He was good. He was really good today."
Sabathia struggled in his first two starts, giving up seven hits and five runs to the Pirates on Tuesday.
On Sunday, he needed 44 pitches to get through four innings — the one mistake a homer to Aki Iwamura. Sabathia left with an out in the fifth after Andy LaRoche lined a single that glanced off his glove.
After his last start, Sabathia said the back end of his motion was collapsing and that he was not at the point where he could make in-game adjustments. But after a productive bullpen Thursday, he had much more success against the Pirates and felt he was turning a corner in preparing for the season.
"Felt more together. Fastball felt crisp. Cutters were good, down in the dirt. Changeup was a lot better," Sabathia said. "I'm definitely pleased with the progress I made here."
Overall, he gave up three runs and three hits in 4 1-3 innings with two walks and two strikeouts.
Jonathan Albaladejo relieved with two runners on in the fifth and allowed both inherited runners to score plus three runs of his own while getting just two outs. Bobby Crosby had an RBI double and Andrew McCutchen added a two-run double in the inning.
Albaladejo, who was 5-1 with a 5.24 ERA in 32 appearances for New York last season, but Girardi said his sinker is not breaking this spring. Albaladejo has given up 10 earned runs and 15 hits in two innings over four games. His ERA actually dropped from 47.25 to a 45.00 Sunday.
Pittsburgh starter Charlie Morton was much more aggressive in his second start against the Yankees this week. He allowed two homers to Nick Johnson on Tuesday, but struck him out in the third Sunday after walking him in the first.
"I did what I was supposed to do: I pitched inside and controlled both sides of the plate," Morton said. "I think I went out there and put the emphasis on competing. Not so much getting my pitches in. Not so much working on things. But having a good lineup in the box, you just need to go after them."
Crosby also hit two home runs after replacing Ronny Cedeno, who cut his hand while stealing second in the third inning. Robinson Cano stepped on Cedeno's hand.
The cut above the thumb and forefinger did not require stitches and had only a small bandage.
"Just a cut," Cedeno said. "I got a little lucky."
NOTES: Delwyn Young has homered in three consecutive games. He's a strong candidate to make the Pirates' bench. ... Wearing his bulky protective helmet, Francisco Cervelli hit into 4-4-3 double play with bases loaded and one out in the seventh. ... Girardi gave days off to Jorge Posada, Javier Vazquez and Alex Rodriguez on Sunday. The Yankees also have Monday off. A note in the clubhouse said the weight room is closed with the word "soldiers!" beneath it. ... Girardi said the Yankees could field a lineup Tuesday that resembles the one he'll use on opening day. ... Johnson hit his third homer of the spring.