CC Sabathia moved a step closer to returning to the Yankees rotation on Sunday.The veteran left-hander allowed one run on one hit over 4 2/3 innings in a rehab start for Class A Advanced Tampa, which edged Lakeland, 3-2, in a Florida State League game at George M. Steinbrenner Field.Sabathia, who
CC Sabathia moved a step closer to returning to the Yankees rotation on Sunday.
The veteran left-hander allowed one run on one hit over 4 2/3 innings in a rehab start for Class A Advanced Tampa, which edged Lakeland, 3-2, in a Florida State League game at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Sabathia, who underwent heart surgery during the offseason, struck out six and issued one walk.
Gameday box score
Before Sabathia's start on Sunday, Yankees manager Aaron Boone said if everything goes according to plan, the 6-foot-6 southpaw will be back in the big league rotation next weekend. New York hosts the White Sox in a three-game series from April 12-14.
Against the Flying Tigers, Sabathia struck out Brock Deatherage to start the game and dispatched Kody Clemens to close a 1-2-3 inning. He also fanned two batters in the third.
Lakeland got on the board in the fourth as rehabbing Tigers outfielder JaCoby Jones drew a one-out walk, took third on Clemens' single to right field and scored on a groundout by Daniel Reyes. Sabathia stranded Clemens at second, then recorded back-to-back outs to start the fifth before being lifted after throwing 62 pitches.
Tampa got the former Cy Young Award winner off the hook with a run in the sixth but trailed, 2-1, entering the ninth. Oswaldo Cabrera led off with a single to center and Isiah Gilliam stroked a walk-off homer one out later off Will Vest (0-1).
Braden Bristo (1-0) earned the win, allowing one hit and one walk while striking out three over 2 1/3 scoreless innings.
A first-round pick by the Indians in the 1998 Draft, Sabathia is a six-time All-Star. He joined the Yankees in 2009 and went 19-8 as New York won its 27th World Series.
Sabathia would be a veteran presence at the back end of a Yankees rotation that includes 26-year-old Domingo Germán and 24-year-old Jonathan Loaisiga. This season, New York's starting pitchers -- a group that also includes Masahiro Tanaka, J.A. Happ and James Paxton -- are 4-2 with a 3.09 ERA. Sabathia announced in November that 2019 will be his final season.
Duane Cross is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DuaneCrossMiLB