CC Sabathia may start serving five-game suspension on Opening Day


TAMPA — The Yankees have two options regarding CC Sabathia: They can start the season with the veteran lefty on the injured list or he can begin serving a five-game suspension on Opening Day.

Asked if there was a chance Sabathia would take care of the suspension from the start of the season, manager Aaron Boone answered yes.

Sabathia, for his part, didn’t know what the club’s plan is.

“That’s up to them,’’ he said.

It makes sense on several fronts for Sabathia to take the first five games off even though the Yankees would have to play with 24 players instead of the regular 25.

First, it gets the suspension out of the way and would lead into a stint on the IL. Next, there is a day off between the first and second game. And while the Yankees will cringe at this, the Orioles are so bad that playing a man short shouldn’t make a difference.

Sabathia’s game action this spring has been limited to simulated games and two innings of a Triple-A game Thursday. He is scheduled for another minor league game Tuesday.


Jonathan Loaisiga didn’t hurt his chance to grab one of the two open spots in the starting rotation by giving up two runs and three hits in four innings as the Yankees beat the Phillies 6-3 Friday night at Steinbrenner Field.

Loaisiga, who fanned seven, is competing against Luis Cessa and Domingo German, with Gio Gonzalez further back after signing a minor league contract this week.


Gary Sanchez threw out two runners at second base. After blocking a pitch in the dirt, he threw out Rob Brantly attempting to advance in the fifth and caught Scott Kingery trying to swipe second in the sixth.

Asked what he liked more, the block or the throws, Sanchez responded “Both.’’

“I feel like he is really catching well,’’ Boone said. “Receiving and blocking, everything is really good.’’


After two days of playing catch at a relaxed speed, Luis Severino, who will open the season on the IL because of an inflamed right rotator cuff, didn’t throw Friday, but will play catch Saturday, according to Boone.

“Hopefully he is on his way, so, so far, so good with that,’’ Boone said.

Boone said Dellin Betances is making progress with the inflamed right shoulder that will land him on the IL to start the season.

“[He’s] feeling better. They want to make sure he is feeling as good as he can be before he starts throwing again, I would expect in the next couple of days,’’ Boone said. “He feels good. I touch base with him and he feels like he is getting better every day.’’


What the 25-man roster will look like on Opening Day is pretty clear, but Boone said discussions are still taking place.

“We have had some spirited conversations and talks about it, but we are not there yet,’’ Boone said. “Nothing is finalized it yet. Hopefully we get there in the next day or two.’’

The Yankees are likely to carry 13 pitchers, and Stephen Tarpley has a chance to be in the bullpen after a sensational spring. The versatile Tyler Wade is also getting strong consideration as a utility man.

Along with sending Clint Frazier to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Friday, the Yankees reassigned lefty pitchers Rex Brothers , Danny Coulombe and Phillip Diehl and righty Drew Hutchison to minor- league camp. After the game, the Yankees also sent infielders Kyle Holder and Giovanny Urshela to minor-league camp.


After guest instructor Lee Mazzilli was released from St. Joseph’s Hospital, Giancarlo Stanton homered twice in the Yankees’ 6-3 win over the Phillies. The second was a broken bat blast to left.


With Hicks starting the season on the IL, watching Brett Gardner crash into the center field fence while catching Maikel Franco’s fourth-inning fly couldn’t have been a good feeling for the Yankees. Fortunately for them Gardner wasn’t injured.


Troy Tulowitzki played all nine innings at shortstop.


Saturday’s schedule: The Yankees play their last home exhibition game of the spring against the Blue Jays and Opening Day starter Masahiro Tanaka will start.