Zimmermann perfect against Sabathia, Yankees
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VIERA, Fla. (AP) While CC Sabathia gave up three runs in three innings testing a new pitch, Jordan Zimmermann had everything working just the way he wanted in a perfect four-inning performance as the Washington Nationals beat the New York Yankees 3-2 Tuesday.
"Their first four or five guys are pretty solid ballplayers," Zimmermann said. "I was just locating pretty good and I was mixing everything in today. I wasn't holding anything back. I threw some pretty good sliders down and in to Ellsbury and Gardner and they took them like they had been seeing them for many years.
"I couldn't believe that, but other than that, everything went well," he added.
Sabathia tested the cutter, throwing eight or nine of the pitch taught to him by former teammate Andy Pettitte. Overall, Sabathia gave up four hits and two walks. He struck out two.
"They felt pretty good," Sabathia said of his cutters. "They either yanked it foul or took it. I don't know how hard it was, if it was the same as my slider."
The Yankees left-hander said his slider has actually been much tighter this spring now that he has been throwing a cutter. He plans to use the cutter along with his four-seam fastball to go in on right-handed hitters, and also to give them a different look.
Sabathia said he feels better this spring than he did at this point last season, when he was coming back from elbow surgery, but admitted he was a little erratic on Wednesday and rushed his delivery.
Anthony Rendon hit a hanging slider from Sabathia into the left field corner for a two-run double that gave Washington a 3-0 lead.
Yankees: Sabathia isn't sure when he will have a full grasp of his new pitch, but don't expect the cutter to be an experiment that will be tossed away if he doesn't have early success.
"I am definitely not going to give up on it, definitely going to keep using it," he said. "(I am) not going to get frustrated with it because it is a tough pitch to throw."
Nationals: Zimmermann tied for the NL lead in wins last season with 19 and is just one victory shy of tying Livan Hernandez for the most wins (44) in Nationals history. Still, he's not lobbying to become the team's opening-day starter.
"I don't really care when I pitch to be honest with you," he said
Nationals right-hander Doug Fister threw on flat ground Tuesday. He will likely take Wednesday off, throw off the ground one more time and then do a bullpen before getting back into game action.
In the fourth inning, Washington's Scott Hairston hit a popup near the plate. As McCann set up for the catch, third baseman Dean Anna tripped over the catcher's mask and ended up sliding in at McCann's feet. The catcher fell back over Anna, but appeared to be fine.
"I told Anna, `Around here we wrap up when we make tackles,'" Yankees manager Joe Girardi joked.
The Yankees will face the Marlins in a pair of split-squad games Saturday and Sunday in Panama City. Among the players making the trip to Panama will be McCann, Derek Jeter, Gardner, Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Beltran. Adam Warren will start Saturday's game, while Sabathia will pitch on Sunday.
Updated March 11, 2014