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Area camps roundup: Yankees tab LHP CC Sabathia to start regular-season and home openers

TAMPA — LHP CC Sabathia will start the regular-season opener and home opener for the Yankees.

Manager Joe Girardi said Thursday that Sabathia will open on April 6 at Baltimore and will throw the first regular-season pitch at the new Yankee Stadium 10 days later against Cleveland.

"I'm excited," Sabathia said. "To be able to take the ball the first one of the season and then to open the new stadium, I think it's going to be fun. It will be a special moment. It's cool to be able to have my family there and be part of it."

The Boss at home?: George Steinbrenner, 78, is expected to be at the home opener April 16, Newsday reported. Steinbrenner, considered in frail health, has not been seen in New York since he attended last summer's All-Star Game at the old Yankee Stadium.

'Toying' with lineup: Girardi is "toying" with the idea of flip-flopping leadoff hitter Johnny Damon and No. 2 hitter Derek Jeter in the batting order. He plans to have Jeter hit first and Damon second regularly during the rest of spring training.

Phillies: 'All right'

CLEARWATER — 2B Chase Utley hit his second home run in two games and 1B Ryan Howard connected for his seventh of the spring in a 10-2 loss to the Yankees.

"We'll be all right," manager Charlie Manuel said of the Phillies, 10-13-2 this spring. "I still think we have to get Utley and (Pedro) Feliz playing (more), and we have to get Jimmy Rollins and (Shane) Victorino some at-bats, and I think we'll be fine. We have to get (Cole) Hamels 100 percent. We're going to be fine."

Feeling better: Hamels, who had left elbow tightness last week, threw in a bullpen session and didn't report any pain.

Jays: Ryan concerns

KISSIMMEE — The Blue Jays have concerns about LH closer B.J. Ryan, who has had a significant drop in velocity, MLB.com reported.

Ryan, who had Tommy John surgery two seasons ago, hasn't shown any health issues.

Manager Cito Gaston indicated that Ryan's pitches have been registering 84-85 mph and touching 86-87 mph, down from 86-90 mph.

The teams

Yankees vs. Reds

7:15 tonight, George M. Steinbrenner Field, Tampa

Blue Jays: Dunedin Stadium, 373 Douglas Ave., Dunedin. Tickets: Call toll-free 1-888-525-5297 or (727) 733-0429 or online at bluejays.com

Phillies: Bright House Field, 601 Old Coachman Road, Clearwater. Tickets: Call (727) 467-4457 or online at phillies.com

Yankees: 1 Steinbrenner Drive, Tampa. Tickets: Call (813) 879-2244 or online at yankees.com

Area camps roundup: Yankees tab LHP CC Sabathia to start regular-season and home openers 03/26/09 [Last modified: Thursday, March 26, 2009 9:30pm]
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