Still, Wednesday was a reminder that there are at least a couple of reasons to keep an eye on the $161 million man as he adjusts to life as a Yankee: he's a laid-back Californian who admittedly would have preferred the West Coast, and he's pitched a ton of innings the last two seasons.Mr. Harper: relax. It's March 12. Kevin Cash is batting .385. Does that mean he should start at catcher? Angel Berroa is batting .417. Let's cut Derek Jeter!
Yes, if Yankee fans feel any need to worry about Sabathia, the numbers that matter aren't the six hits and five runs he gave up in 1-2/3 innings here against the Tigers. Instead it's the total of 512 innings, including postseason, that Sabathia pitched over the last two seasons, by far the most of any pitcher in baseball.
Add the stress of pitching on three days' rest in September and October for the Brewers last season, and Sabathia has the potential for a hangover effect that at least some people in baseball believe is inevitable. In fact, according to one Yankee person, Sabathia's workload was a source of some internal discussion before it was decided the combination of talent and toughness was worth investing huge money in him over seven years.
If there's any reason to be concerned about Sabathia, it should be about his October performances - a 7.92 ERA in 25 innings pitched (small sample size, obviously). A bad spring training outing in mid-March shouldn't throw up any red flags.
Let's all remain calm here, please.