Feb 18, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia (52) throws a bull pen session as he works out at Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Yankees' CC Sabathia fastball dips below 90

Yes, it’s only March 1st. Yes, it’s only C.C. Sabathia’s first start of the spring. But all the potential for less than favorable news exists in two scoreless innings pitched against the Phillies.

Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily news reports that none of the pitches that the Yankees’ ace threw today topped the speed gun at higher than 88. Sabathia, who is 33 and signed through 2016, reported to Spring Training looking trimmer and stronger than ever, although he weighed in at the same 275 as last season. The reported eight percent drop in body fat looked to be encouraging news for Yankees’ fans; Sabathia’s new look and stronger frame could mean that the six-time All-Star could bounce back from a disappointing 2013.

Last season, Sabathia pitched to a 14-13 record in 32 starts with a 4.78 ERA, the highest of his career. Incidentally, Sabathia’s fastball clocked in at a career low 91.3 MPH. The ultra-durable lefty had a fastball at 94.1 MPH in his debut season with the Yankees in 2009. Since then, his velocity has been steadily declining (from 2010-2011, there was a .3 MPH increase). In that season Sabathia had his highest average fastball, he posted a 19-8 record and a 3.37 ERA, finishing fourth in the Cy Young voting.

Having C.C. lose velocity on his number one pitch is not what the Yankees’ pitching staff needs, as it also depends on an aging Hiroki Kuroda and brand new, unproven Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka to anchor the rotation.

Tags: New York Yankees

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