TAMPA, Fla. — CC Sabathia was upbeat after allowing one run and four hits over four innings Thursday in the Yankees' 2-2, nine-inning tie against the Detroit Tigers.
"I felt great," the 37-year-old left-hander said. "If I feel like I felt today all year. I feel like I'll be pretty good. That's encouraging."
Sabathia, who wears a brace on his surgically repaired right knee, was 14-5 with a 3.69 ERA in 29 starts last season in his best season since 2012. He has adjusted to decreased velocity.
"I feel pretty comfortable with the stuff that I have," Sabathia said.
Sabathia walked one and struck out one during his 64-pitch outing, his second spring training appearance.
"Felt great about what I saw," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "I thought he commanded his pitches. A real nice step forward for him on his way.
Sabathia likely will make his first regular-season start during the opening four-game series at Toronto.
"There's no doubt he's made that transition, and I think you're seeing him now real comfortable," Boone said. "It's been neat to see him made this transition."
In other news, AL Rookie of the Year Aaron Judge will earn $622,300 in the major leagues as part of his one-year contract with the New York Yankees.
Judge, who led the AL with 52 home runs, is not eligible for salary arbitration until after the 2019 season. He agreed to a split contract in which his salary would drop to $272,250 in the unlikely event he is sent back to the minors.
New York uses a scale based on service time for its players not eligible for arbitration.
Yankees pitcher Luis Severino will make $604,975 after he went 14-6 with a 2.98 ERA. His agreement calls for a minor league salary of $275,488.
New York also reached agreements with first baseman Greg Bird ($582,000/$272,500), pitcher Jordan Montgomery ($580,450/$228,413) and infielder/outfielder Tyler Austin ($558,600/$230,814).
With an influx of young players not yet eligible for arbitration, the Yankees are on track to get their payroll under the luxury tax threshold for the first time since the current tax began in 2003.
Notes: Prospect Gleyber Torres, a candidate to start at second base, was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after hitting .160 in 11 games. "Just stay focused and be ready for another opportunity," Torres said. The move came one day after free-agent INF Neil Walker agreed to a $4 million, one-year contract. Walker is expected to start the season at second. ... Walker is set to play for the first time Friday. .... C Kyle Higashioka was also optioned to Triple-A. ... Former Yankees RHP Don Larsen, who threw the only perfect game in World Series history, attended the game. Larsen is 88 years old. ... Senior adviser Reggie Jackson had knee surgery, one day after slipping while taking a walk.