C.C. Sabathia and Ivan Nova have continued to struggle in spring training, making Joe Girardi’s fifth starter decision exceedingly difficult.

Sabathia, whom by his own admission is notoriously poor in the exhibition months, has lived up to that advanced billing. In three starts this year, the former ace is 0-2 with a 7.36 ERA (7.1 IP). But with $25 million due to him this season the Yankees are almost compelled to start him, especially considering Sabathia has little to no experience pitching in relief.

“I know I can pitch, and I know I can get big league hitters out,” Sabathia told reporters after his latest shaky outing. “I feel healthy and I’ll be ready to go.”

As for Nova, his start on Sunday was one to forget. In 4.1 innings, he allowed four runs on five hits and three walks. That ballooned his spring training ERA to 4.04 in 13.1 IP.

Nova was candid with reporters after the game, saying, “Of course you want to pitch good personally, but I cannot sit here now and hit my head against the wall because I pitched bad.”

Nova added, “They’re going to take their time and announce [a fifth starter] when they feel comfortable. Hopefully I’ll do better the last two [starts] than this one today and see what happens at the end.”



Sandy Alderson finally put to rest the rumors that swirled a couple of weeks ago that the Mets were looking at obtaining a backup for Travis d’Arnaud.

“We’re not looking for anybody outside the organization,” Alderson told Newsday. “If we’re looking for anybody outside the organization, it would be more for a Triple-A role than it would be for the major league level.”

Kevin Plawecki, who filled in nicely when d’Arnaud missed parts of last season, is viewed as a promising backstop prospect, but there is ongoing discussion within the Mets organization that Plawecki would be better served getting more playing time in Triple-A Las Vegas.

“There are a number of considerations,” Alderson said. “Is a guy like Plawecki better off getting more at-bats more consistently or as a backup? That’s one issue. Flexibility, versatility, right versus left, that’s all a consideration. There are a variety of things going on but we want the best overall mix.”

If Plawecki were to start 2016 in the minors, it appears the Mets would turn to Johnny Monell to back up d’Arnaud. Monell has just 56 career at-bats in the majors in parts of two seasons, and hit a paltry .167 for the Mets last year.


High hopes

Amed Rosario, the highest-ranked prospect in the Mets’ system and the third-highest overall prospect per MLB.com, has dipped his toe into the Major League waters this spring. So far the 20-year-old shortstop has taken three at-bats and recorded one hit (a single), and has seen some time in the field.

“I feel good, and I feel very proud,” Rosario told reporters in Spanish.

Rosario, who is expected to start the year with Double-A Binghamton, says he’s been working on pitch selection during the offseason.

“I focused on picking up pitches that used to hurt me, so I can drive the ball better,” Rosario said. 

Rosario hit .257 with 25 RBI and 12 stolen bases in High-A St. Lucie last year, but had 73 strikeouts compared to just 23 walks.