The 34-year-old lefty was hobbled by a degenerative cartilage problem in his right knee last season and was done after having surgery in July.
"Felt good. No complaints," Sabathia said. "I was really nervous, more than normal. It was really weird."
After Sabathia had a perfect first inning, Dioner Navarro opened the second with a single just to the left of Alex Rodriguez that many third basemen would have fielded.
"I saw it perfectly," Rodriguez said. "Just a rocket past me."
Rodriguez, who turns 40 in July, is returning from a one-year drug suspension and is mostly competing for time at DH.
Dayan Viciedo and Devon Travis had two-out run-scoring hits in the second off Sabathia.
A six-time All-Star and 2007 AL Cy Young Award winner, Sabathia made only eight starts last year and finished 3-4 with a career-worst 5.28 ERA. He is 208-119 with a 3.63 ERA in 14 seasons.
"First step, really positive to me," New York manager Joe Girardi said.
Toronto's Drew Hutchison allowed two runs and four hits, including Mark Teixeira's solo homer, in four innings.
Hutchison had a small spot near his left elbow that he skinned while attempting a diving catch on Brian McCann's second-inning foul ball just in front of the third base dugout.
"It's natural instinct," Hutchison said. "I'm good."
Yankees outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury was scratched due to a mild right abdominal strain.
Blue Jays: LHP Mark Buehrle will go against Tampa Bay RHP Chris Archer on Wednesday. Buehrle has allowed four hits over 5 1-3 innings in two previous starts.
Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka will make his second start Wednesday night against Atlanta. The Japanese right-hander threw two perfect innings Thursday against the Braves. Tanaka was an All-Star last year during his first season in the majors, but missed 2 1/2 months while rehabilitating a partially torn ligament in his elbow. He returned for two starts in late September.
Blue Jays: Hutchison went 11-13 with a 4.48 ERA in 32 starts last season after missing 2013 following right elbow surgery.
"He's only going to get better," general manager Alex Anthopoulos said.
Yankees: Sabathia struck out two, throwing 23 of 31 pitches for strikes.
Blue Jays: DH-1B Edwin Encarnacion (back inflammation) took dry swings and could play in a week. "He's not concerned about (being ready) opening day," Anthopoulos said. ... 2B Ramon Santiago (broken collarbone) will miss 10 weeks. He was hurt making a diving catch Sunday against Atlanta. ... OF Michael Saunders (knee surgery) is scheduled to DH in a minor league game Thursday.
Yankees: Reliever Andrew Bailey will pitch for the first time Wednesday since right shoulder surgery in July 2013. ... RHP Ivan Nova (right elbow surgery) threw curveballs for the first time off a mound and said only one of six was bad. "For the first day, perfect," he said. Nova appears on target to return by June. ... INF Brendan Ryan (back) might play in a minor league game Friday.
The Yankees optioned C Gary Sanchez to Double-A Trenton, RHP Domingo German to Single-A Tampa and RHP Branden Pinder to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. INF Greg Bird and INF Kyle Roller were reassigned to the minor league camp.