Monday's roundup: Pettitte believes Sabathia can thrive with less heat

Associated Press

Tampa, Fla. — Andy Pettitte is confident former New York Yankees teammate CC Sabathia can be successful this season with a diminished fastball that normally tops out in the upper 80 mph range.

“I am just because I know what he can do,” Pettitte said Monday. “I watched him too many times and the command that he has, and stuff like that. I say that because I felt like I was able to do that, and I think he’s better than I was. It makes it easy for me to say that.”

Pettitte was a guest speaker at a camp for top New York minor leaguers. He was 256-153 in 18 big league seasons, including 219-127 in 15 years with the Yankees.

The 35-year old Sabathia missed the Yankees’ loss to Houston in the AL wild-card game last fall when he entered an alcohol rehabilitation program. The left-hander was 6-10 with a 4.73 ERA last year, when he was slowed by his surgically repaired right knee. After returning from the disabled list and using a tighter brace, he went 2-1 with a 2.17 ERA in his last five starts.

“He seems to be doing good,” Pettitte said. “He’s got a great support group with his family, I know that. I just want to see him be successful, not only on the baseball field, but as a husband, as a dad and in life.”

Sabathia has been throwing off a mound in New York.

Around the horn

Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina has his cast off and could be as much as two weeks away from catching, but he hopes with all of spring training ahead of him to be ready for Opening Day.

“That’s what I want,” said Molina, who tore the ligament in his left thumb making a tag late last season. “That’s my goal, obviously. We have to wait. We have to see, obviously.”

Molina said it’s already clear that the second surgery has corrected the issue. He can tell while doing range of motion exercises and strengthening work with the hand.

... Having traded Khris Davis to Oakland last Friday, the Brewers are discussing whether it makes sense to move Ryan Braun back to left field and install strong-armed newcomer Domingo Santana in right field.

... Reliever Craig Breslow, 35, has left the Red Sox and agreed to a minor league contract with the Marlins, who would be his seventh major league team.

... Free-agent first baseman Ike Davis, bothered by injuries since hitting 32 home runs for the Mets in 2012, has agreed to a minor league contract with the Rangers and will report to major league spring training. Davis is a left-handed hitter like Rangers first basemen Prince Fielder and Mitch Moreland.