CC 'getting after it and getting ready to go'

CC 'getting after it and getting ready to go'

TAMPA, Fla. -- The humid afternoon air may have gassed left-hander CC Sabathia a bit toward the end, but he took another convincing step forward on Thursday and should be ready to make his next appearance in a Grapefruit League game.

Sabathia threw 29 pitches over two simulated innings on a back diamond at George M. Steinbrenner Field, working with catcher Francisco Arcia to attack Minor Leaguers Cito Culver and Trent Garrison. After the outing he said that he has not felt this good since 2012.

"I'm ready for the next step," Sabathia said. "Throwing strikes, that's the biggest thing. The pitches are making the actions they're supposed to. I'm just ready for the next step."

Manager Joe Girardi was impressed by the session and will confer with pitching coach Larry Rothschild to confirm Sabathia's next outing. That could happen as soon as Tuesday, when the Yankees host the Blue Jays under the lights at Steinbrenner Field. He could also pitch on Wednesday against the Braves in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

"I thought his fastball had really good movement," Girardi said. "He threw some good sliders, some changeups. We had to create some extra outs for him to get the pitches in, which is always a good sign."

Sabathia has been encouraged because he is experiencing no discomfort in his surgically repaired right knee, which limited him to just eight starts last season.

"It's good. I don't have to think about it," he said. "I have the sleeve on, I'm out there, and I feel like I'm getting after it a little more than I ever have with my legs the past couple years. I have no complaints, so I'm good from here on out. I'm getting after it and getting ready to go."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.