LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) -- A pair of old friends have a new relationship as mound rivals in the competitive AL Central.
Cleveland ace C.C. Sabathia and Detroit newcomer Dontrelle Willis made their first spring appearances as opposing starters in a 3-3, 10-inning tie on Saturday. The pitchers have known each other since their teen years in the San Francisco area."When he got drafted in the third round, he called me to ask what it was like to get to the big leagues," Sabathia said. "We've always stayed in touch, and I'm sure we'll be hanging out a lot now."Friendship aside, Willis never wants to see Sabathia celebrate at the expense of the Tigers."I want our team to win. I expect him to want his team to win," Willis said. "I'm rooting for him, but I'm sure he hopes his team gets me just like I would. That's the bottom line."Both left-handers worked two innings. Willis allowed one run and three hits, including a leadoff homer by Ben Francisco in the second, and didn't dismiss the game as a meaningless exhibition outing."I'm not that good to be turning it on and off," said Willis, who was acquired with All-Star third baseman Miguel Cabrera in a December trade that sent six players to the Florida Marlins. "My routine getting ready in April is the same as it will be late in the year."Sabathia gave up two runs and five hits. Placido Polanco tripled off him with one out in the first, and Brandon Inge followed with a single. Cabrera made it 2-0 with a two-out double.Willis is delighted to still have Cabrera as a teammate."There's a lot of highlights. That's what he does," Willis said. "He's a professional hitter. You'll see a lot more of that."Sabathia provided a tremendous highlight for Willis last year by winning the Cy Young Award. The pair attended a Golden State Warriors basketball game together the day of the announcement, and Willis was overjoyed."I felt like we both won," he said.Sabathia is happy with the leverage his award should provide when he becomes eligible for free agency following this season."It's a great position to be in," he said, "but like I've said, I'm just going to go out and pitch and then see what happens."NOTES: RHP Jake Westbrook is the scheduled starter for Cleveland in Sunday's rematch in Winter Haven. LHP Kenny Rogers will start for Detroit. ... Besides his solo homer, Francisco had an RBI double in the eighth. ... Tigers OF Curtis Granderson, who homered in victories Thursday and Friday, took the first of back-to-back days off. ... OF Gary Sheffield rejoined his Detroit teammates after several days of legal entanglements with Scott Boras, his former agent. He likely will make his spring debut Sunday as the designated hitter. ... Cleveland C Wyatt Toregas sprained his left index finger and will be reevaluated in Winter Haven.