TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — CC Sabathia was nervous, scared and didn't know what to expect when he entered an alcohol rehabilitation program last October.
He started spring training in an upbeat mood.
The 35-year old left-hander took part in the Yankees' first workout for pitchers and catchers Friday at Steinbrenner Field. He is to throw off a mound at camp for the first time Saturday.
"It was a good experience for me, so far," Sabathia said. "Looking back at it now, it's something I'm glad I did."
Sabathia revealed his problem to the team on the final weekend of the regular season during a series against the Orioles. He missed the Yankees' loss to Houston in the AL wild-card game last fall after he entered a treatment facility.
"Felt like I needed to get some help," Sabathia said. "Didn't feel good about where I was headed. I just think the breaking point for me was just waking up in Baltimore and not feeling good. I was just tired of being sick and trying to hide this thing."
Sabathia 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.
"This is the most anticipation in a long time," Sabathia said. "I've just been looking forward to getting down here with the guys and doing baseball work. My body will definitely feel better. Not drinking alcohol will probably be huge at this point in my career."
Sabathia plans to spend more time with his teammates on the road, something that he got away from the past few years.
"Kind of shut myself in my hotel room and doing my deeds," Sabathia said. "I'm as sure as I can be right now I'm not going to allow myself (to drink again). You take it day by day."
Sabathia, who joined the Yankees for the 2009 season, gets $25 million this year, and his deal includes a $25 million option for 2017 that becomes guaranteed unless he finishes the season on the disabled list because of a left-shoulder injury, is on the DL for at least 45 days because of a left shoulder injury or makes six or more relief appearances this season because of a left shoulder condition.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he will pay a little more attention to Sabathia but does not want to suffocate him.
"I think CC and I have a good enough relationship to where he knows I care more about him as a person," Girardi said.
Masahiro Tanaka threw 25 pitches during a bullpen session.
The Japanese right-hander, coming back from an arthroscopic procedure to remove a bone spur from his right elbow, had a 20-pitch mound session last Saturday at Steinbrenner Field, two days before leaving Florida for the birth of his son.
"I was pleased," Girardi said. "I wanted to know how he felt and he said he felt good."
Barring any setbacks, the Yankees expect Tanaka to be ready to start the season.
Tanaka was 12-7 with a 3.51 ERA in 24 starts last year and lost the wild-card game. He was on the disabled list last season with right wrist tendinitis and a forearm strain and missed a September start because of a strained right hamstring.
Ivan Nova, Nathan Eovaldi, Luis Severino and Michael Pineda also threw off mounds.
The Yankees are again wearing No. 8 on the left sleeve of their jerseys in honor of Hall of Famer Yogi Berra, who died Sept. 22. ... New closer Aroldis Chapman is scheduled for his first mound session Saturday. ... RHPs Mark Montgomery and RHP Kyle Haynes have been added to the major league spring training camp. There are 68 players working out.