Sabathia Says He's OK for Opening Day

Friday, March 30th 2007, 12:47 pm
By: News On 6

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (AP) _ C.C. Sabathia threw 50 pitches in a bullpen session Friday and pronounced himself fit to keep his starting assignment for the Cleveland Indians on opening day.

The left-hander was hit on the left forearm Wednesday by a drive off the bat of Toronto's Reed Johnson. Sabathia was examined at a hospital, but no break was found. He still had a bruise just above his left wrist Friday.

``Once you get it in your head that it's not broken, you feel better about it,'' he said.

Sabathia was able to play catch as well as complete his normal bullpen session. He will be limited to 110 pitches Monday in Chicago against the White Sox.

Sabathia was 12-11 with a 3.22 ERA last season, the third-best ERA in the AL. He is 81-56 over five seasons with Cleveland.

If Sabathia were not able to pitch Monday, the assignment would have gone to Jake Westbrook, slated as Cleveland's No. 2 starter.

Sabathia strained a muscle in his ribcage before his first spring training game in 2005 and wasn't activated until April 17. Last year, he strained a muscle in his ribcage during the third inning on opening day and didn't return until May 2.

Given those experiences the last two springs, Sabathia said he is happy the situation this time wasn't worse.

``It was just a normal bullpen,'' Sabathia said. ``Especially given my history down here the last couple years, I dodged a bullet. I'm just anxious to get the season going.''

It will be his fourth opening-day assignment for the Indians.