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TOR@NYY: Sabathia finds groove in eight-inning outing

CC Sabathia won four games in April for the first time in his career and led the American League in innings pitched over the opening month of the season. What does the Yankees' ace have in store for May?

Sabathia will take the mound Friday night at Yankee Stadium against the A's, who will start right-hander A.J. Griffin as they kick off a 10-game road trip through New York, Cleveland and Seattle.

Sabathia has pitched at least five innings in all six of his starts, throwing seven innings in two and eight in three others. The big lefty battled through eight innings to pick up his fourth win of the season Saturday against the Blue Jays, allowing only one hit to the final 13 hitters he faced and retiring his final nine.

Sabathia exited having allowed four runs (three earned) on a season-high nine hits, including two homers, while striking out four and walking none.

"I've seen him do it so many times -- that's the thing," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "That's one of the things that's impressed me the most about him, and there are a lot of things to talk about ... but the way he competes when he doesn't have his [best] stuff is probably as impressive as anything. That's how you become a 20-game winner."

Griffin, meanwhile, is winless in his last three starts and has struggled his last two times out. The right-hander has given up 13 earned runs in 17 innings over his past three starts. He has racked up 18 strikeouts during that stretch, including seven punchouts in seven innings against the Orioles on Saturday.

Griffin gave up four runs Saturday, all in the fourth inning, and the A's lineup couldn't pick him up enough to snap his winless streak. But the way Griffin pitched the rest of the way impressed Oakland manager Bob Melvin despite the loss.

"[Griffin] pitched well pretty much every inning but one," Melvin said. "When you only score two runs and give up four in one inning, it's gonna end up costing you. It shouldn't, one bad inning."

A's: Crisp, Anderson head to DL
Oakland placed outfielder Coco Crisp (strained left hamstring) and left-hander Brett Anderson (sprained right ankle) on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday. Both players' injuries occurred in the A's 19-inning victory over the Angels on Monday night.

Crisp's injury came when he tried to beat out an infield grounder in the 13th inning, while Anderson aggravated his ankle in the 18th inning while trying to field a ball. Anderson wound up pitching 5 1/3 innings despite being scratched from Monday's start.

To take their spots on the active roster, the A's called up catcher Luke Montz and right-hander Dan Straily from Triple-A Sacramento.

• The A's entered May having put together five consecutive winning months dating back to last season.

Yankees: Grandy plays in spring game; Tex takes BP
Outfielder Curtis Granderson took two at-bats in an extended spring game Wednesday in Tampa, Fla., starting the clock for his return to the Yankees' lineup. Granderson has said he would need about 50 to 70 at-bats before he's ready for the Majors.

"That's a good sign," Girardi said. "We know what Grandy's done since he's been here and the power numbers that he's put up."

Meanwhile, first baseman Mark Teixeira took batting practice in the cages at Yankee Stadium, a step in the right direction considering he'd been limited to dry swings since April 17. Teixeira tweeted that he "felt good" hitting in the cages.

• Infielder Kevin Youkilis said Wednesday that his sore lower back felt better after receiving an epidural injection. He expects to be healthy enough to rejoin the Yankees when he's eligible to come off the disabled list on May 13.

Worth noting
• Ichiro Suzuki went 2-for-4 Wednesday night in the leadoff spot, where Girardi slotted him because of the hot streak he's been on lately. Over his last eight games, Ichiro is hitting .419 (13-for-31) with five multi-hit games and has seen his average climb from .200 to .279.

• A's closer Grant Balfour owns a streak of 21 consecutive saves, tied for the third-longest streak in Oakland history.

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