CC Sabathia and the Heating Pad of Doom


At the rate we’re going, Yankee fans and the hypersensitive media that covers them are going to start panicking before Spring Training ends. Today’s freakout du jour comes to courtesy of Anthony McCarron, The Daily News and CC Sabathia’s in-game heating pad.

McCarron notes that a few Yankee watchers are concerned about CC’s health. It’s odd, they say, for a pitcher with a history of abdominal strains to use a heating pad on Opening Day to stay loose. (Oh, wait.) Noted doctor and pitching expert John Flaherty had a few things to say about Sabathia’s outing. “When I’m watching him pitch and see the heat pad and then see him throwing 88-89, it’s almost like he’s protecting something and pitching at 70%,” the YES Network color man said.

It’s a good thing I’m sitting here in my mom’s basement in front of a computer with access to, you know, real numbers. While the notoriously unreliable YES gun may have said 88-89, the true numbers provided to us by MLB.com’s Pitch f/x system tell otherwise. Mike explored this in depth yesterday, but it’s a point worth repeating. Pitch f/x had CC’s average fastball velocity as 93 with a peak of 95. His change-up was at 85, and his breaking pitchers were around 80. But, hey, why verify facts? If John Flaherty said it, that must make it reality.

McCarron eventually makes some good points. Will Carroll pointed out that Sabathia’s release point was off, and Jim Kaat wondered why Sabathia threw six straight sliders to Luke Scott. But those points are buried under an avalanche of Yankee denials.

Sabathia’s location was off on Monday because his release point was off. He just had one of those day and couldn’t get the pitches over. He had no problems with velocity; he is showing no signs of injury; and the Yankees aren’t about to start taking early-season chances with their $23 million pitcher. If he’s hurt he won’t pitch, and right now he’s going to pitch. If he doesn’t show improvement over his next few starts, we’ll all start to worry, but one game does not a trend make.

Categories : Pitching


  1. steve (different one) says:

    if only the yankees had the one pitcher you would choose if you were starting your franchise from scratch, Jonathan Papelbon.


    (yes, i know i posted this earlier but i can’t get over it)

  2. dkidd says:

    off day between game #1 and #2 + game #1 loss = 24 hour hysteria bubble

    • steve (different one) says:

      not just an offday, but day game + offday + night game. it’s like 50+ hours of nonsense.

      • And we haven’t even gotten to the Joba video yet today. Yet.

        • steve (different one) says:



          • As you’ll see in about 37 minutes, that’s exactly my point.

            Last I checked, New Yorkers are rude drivers and Yogi’s pretty damn short.

            • UWS says:

              As you’ll see in about 37 minutes…

              Do we have to?

              • We went back and forth on that a little bit. It’s a stupid non-story — which is pretty much the point of my post — but at the same time, there’s a story there. It’s just not the one that Wally Matthews and Joel Sherman wrote.

            • Count Zero says:

              Not to mention that it all came off to me as: “Hey — I’m a good ‘ole boy just like you. Don’t you want to let me go? Huh? Please?”

              I was living in VA for a while and this friend of mine from Chicago got endless laughs out of the way I was able to suddenly speak with a Dixie accent whenever I got pulled over by a cop. :-)

      • dkidd says:

        good point. the perfect storm

  3. dkidd says:

    i’m curious what people think of mike marshall’s program? could he actually have the secret to avoiding arm/shoulder injuries?

  4. LosingOurHeads says:

    We cannot be the Evil Empire if we’re all taking Ativan. Everyone CALM DOWN!!!

  5. LosingOurHeads says:

    Also we’re starting to sound the way Red Sox fans USED TO sound.

    • Yup. Lose a game = 0-162. Where this is coming from, I do not know.

    • I agree with all of you, it’s ridiculous… But I was watching Around the Horn yesterday (don’t ask why, there’s no good answer) and Jay Marriotti went on a little rant about Yankees fans overreacting to an Opening Day loss, during which rant they showed the back page of either the Daily News or the Post (I have no idea which one), and it occurred to me that while yeah, of course some Yankees fans overreacted to the loss, it’s really the NY tabloid media that overreacted and their overreaction gets projected onto Yankees fans (as a whole) a bit unfairly. Maybe others can speak to this a bit, but I don’t actually know anyone who overreacted for more than 5 minutes or so on Monday. Were there really that many people freaking out about game 1 of 162? I’ve ranted against blaming media here in the past, but I’m not blaming the media for fans’ opinions/perceptions here, I’m saying that I don’t even think the fans even have those opinions (or at least they’re not much more upset than would be understandable following a disappointing loss we all waited months to see). The back-page of moronic rags may have screamed overreaction, but that’s different than fans giving upon a season. I’m sure the full-house in the Stadium on the 16th won’t contain too many people who have given up on the season (I guess I should say “excepting the press box”).

      On a related note… I love how someone like Marriotti can rail against NY fans while holding up, as his example, a newspaper. I mean, he’s really ranting against the NY tabloids, isn’t he? Shouldn’t NY writers who work for those papers be pissed when things like that happen? He’s really sniping at his peers.

      • jsbrendog says:

        whoa whoa whoa….dont go hating on around the horn…..

        i swear if you say one bad word about woody paige……..

      • steve (different one) says:

        while i agree with your point about the tabloids, go read the comments at LoHud during any game where the Yankees have less than a 5 run lead.

        there is a subsection of fans who definitely freaked out on Monday.

        • You’re right, I kinda regretted my comment (above) while I was writing it. I just found the Marriotti thing so annoying. I’m a little insulated from the type of fans who would be jumping off bridges after one or two losses in April, I don’t read LoHud comments or really any comments other than RAB. I just don’t find it worthwhile, which is good for my sanity but bad for my ability to accurately gauge how crazy certain people are. My bad.

  6. Expired Milk says:

    I was following the game with MLB at bat 2009 iphone app(awesome app btw) and they add CC’s fb consistently at 93mph+. Which leads me to believe that Flathery is a dolt.

    Oh off topic bu the Dan Geise was picked up by the A’S.Cali loves former Yankees pitchers.

  7. Rich says:

    Flaherty is a net negative.

  8. Greg says:

    C.C. just needs to learn to pitch like Jamie Moyer.

  9. C.Panella says:

    Not only the YES people were going nuts over the heating pad…You had to hear 660 right after the game people were losing there minds over this damn heating pad it was so comical the guy cant move wrong with out people thinking something is wrong with him

  10. B.George says:

    The YES guna had Andy Pettie throwing 55 mph so you know that gun is right……People seem to forget that CC is from California and is not use to the cold weather and its his first start outta Florida…..he was using the pad to keep lose because in the cold your muscle tighten up….Kay and Singelton were saying that it wasnt that cold….maybe for a person who lived in this area there whole life but for someone who is from Cali it is freezen…..People seem to forget that every pitcher has a bad game and this was his bad game because of pitch selection and location not because of a damn heating pad!

    • A.D. says:

      Maybe for 2 guys sitting in the press box it wasn’t that cold.

      • Drew says:

        He’s from California? He pitched in Ohio then Wisconsin. He’s not straight out of highschool or college.

    • …maybe for a person who lived in this area there whole life but for someone who is from Cali it is freezen…

      Over the 7 Aprils immediately preceeding this one, CC has pitched a good 15-20 games at the beginning of that month at Jacobs Field, Comerica Park, U.S. Cellular Field, and Safeco Field.

      It is often cold outdoors in Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, and Seattle in April. Real cold, colder than it was Monday afternoon in Baltimore.

      Shouldn’t we have seen CC with a heating pad in all those starts if he’s just a Cali guy not used to cold weather? Shouldn’t this have been a non-story because YES would have cut to game footage of any one of those games and shown CC with a heating pad in the early-April Cleveland cold?

  11. rto3 says:

    Ben is correct. CC’s lack of control on his fastball was because his release point was off. It was off because he was opening up his front shoulder too early. This is usually a sign of someone trying to throw too hard, which is understandable, since he was probably pumped up making his Yankee debut. What is disturbing, however, is that the Yankee coaches didn’t fix this. This is something a high school or little league coach should be able to fix on the fly.
    As far as the heating pad was concerned, was merely trying to keep warm. That’s why he zipped it up inside his jacket.

  12. B.George says:

    UPDATE, 4:07 p.m.: CC said the mysterious heating pad he uses is to – get this – stay warm on cold days. Shocking.

    PeteAbe just posted it

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