Yanks ace is lighter,feels better

TAMPA — Yankees LHP CC Sabathia said he feels stronger after losing 25 pounds during the offseason. The ace reported to spring training at 290.

"My stamina, especially coming out of the bullpen and going straight to the mound, I feel good," Sabathia said Thursday after throwing 25 pitches in his first batting practice session. "I just don't get tired. Early in spring training years past, I would get a little gassed in my bullpen (sessions)."

Sabathia doesn't plan on losing more weight.

"I'm good right now," he said. "We'll see how the season goes. I'll try and maintain this and see how it goes."

Catchers: C Russell Martin (right knee) caught Sabathia and did simulated blocking of pitches in the dirt for the first time. He is expected to miss the first three or four games. … DH Jorge Posada (left knee), expected to see limited time at catcher, caught his first bullpen sessions.

Phillies: Strong start

CLEARWATER — 1B Ryan Howard hit a two-run double on his first swing as the Phillies beat Florida State 8-0 in their spring opener.

"We played pretty good for the first time out," manager Charlie Manuel said. "Our pitchers, especially the guys we wanted to see, did fine."

RHP Drew Naylor started and allowed one hit and struck out two over two innings. RHPs Justin De Fratus, Michael Stutes and Michael Schwimer, all in their first major-league camp, combined to allow one hit and strike out five over three innings.

Domonic Brown, an ex-Pasco High standout competing to start in rightfield, went 1-for-3 with a run scored.

"It feels great to get back out there," he said.

Held out: 2B Chase Utley sat because of "general soreness," Manuel said, and might not play until next week. … SS Jimmy Rollins was excused so he could attend a tribute to Motown at the White House as part of Black History month.

Jays: Making his mark

DUNEDIN — RHP Zach Stewart, a contender for the final spot in the Blue Jays' rotation, threw two perfect innings in an intrasquad scrimmage. Facing mostly major-leaguers, Stewart, 24, threw 25 pitches (18 strikes), struck out two and induced four groundouts.

"Zach had great mound presence," manager John Farrell said of Stewart, who spent 2010 at Double A. "He threw the ball over the plate and challenged the hitters, and that was refreshing."

LHP Ricky Romero started for the opposition and retired all six batters he faced. But among his 28 pitches, only 15 were strikes.

"The fact that his breaking ball was up in the zone a little bit just speaks to the timing and the delivery," Farrell said of Romero, who struck out one. "Otherwise, his changeup had very good late action. He threw the fastball to both sides of the plate. It was a very good starting point."

Being careful: 2B Aaron Hill sat because of a tight right quadriceps. He got through pregame drills, and the team said he would have played if it were the regular season. But it decided to be overly cautious.

.fast facts

Blue Jays

Workout start time:

9:30 a.m.

Site: Englebert Complex, 1700 Solon Ave., Dunedin. (Team will dress at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium and bus over.)

Phillies

Workout start time: 10 a.m.

Site: Carpenter Complex and Bright House Field,

601 Old Coachman Road, Clearwater

Yankees

Workout start time:

9-9:30 a.m.

Site: George Steinbrenner Field, corner of Dale Mabry Highway and Martin Luther King Boulevard, Tampa

Yanks ace is lighter,feels better 02/24/11 [Last modified: Thursday, February 24, 2011 10:21pm]

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