Wells went 0 for 3 with an RBI groundout in his debut with the Yankees, and the Houston Astros and New York played to a 4-all tie Tuesday night in 10 innings.
The Yankees completed a trade with the Los Angeles Angels earlier in the day to get Wells. The 34-year-old outfielder flied out twice and had a hard grounder during a three-run sixth.
"I got goosebumps just driving down the road a couple hours after they told me about the trade, and start thinking about the roll call," Wells said.
"I won't be the guy that gets picked on by the bleacher (fans) this time, even though I enjoyed it. Now it's going to be a little different hearing my name and being in pinstripes. I'm getting the chills now. There's great expectations and great responsibility," he said.
Wells batted sixth and started in left, part of a lineup that Yankees manager Joe Girardi said could be close to the regular season setup: Brett Gardner, Ichiro Suzuki, Robinson Cano, Kevin Youkilis, Travis Hafner, Wells, Juan Rivera, Eduardo Nunez and Chris Stewart.
The left-hander, coming back from offseason left elbow bone spur surgery, gave up six hits, three walks and had four strikeouts.
"I stayed healthy, that was the main key," Sabathia said. "I'm feeling better every day. I'm having no problems. I'm ready to go."
New York closer Mariano Rivera struck out one during a 1-2-3 sixth.
"We'll revisit the topic and realistically you don't have to make a decision until Saturday," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "We've all seen both of those guys pitch this entire spring. That's why we were confident in letting both of them know they're on the ballclub."
The loser will likely be the long man out of the bullpen.
Astros opening day starter Bud Norris didn't make the trip and threw 38 pitches over two innings in a minor league game.
"Like I told both of them, they're both going to have ample opportunity to win the job outright, but, obviously as we stand here today, that's going to have to play itself out during the season," Porter said.
Yankees RHP Phil Hughes (bulging disk in the upper back) is scheduled to pitch in his second minor league game Wednesday. ... Barnes has five homers. ... To make room on the 40-man roster for Wells, the Yankees released INF David Adams. ... Houston LHP Erik Bedard pitched three innings in a minor league game. ... 1B Lyle Overbay agreed to a minor league contract with the Yankees. He entered the game in the seventh. ... The Astros released INF Tyler Greene. ... The Yankees claimed RHP Dan Otero off waivers from San Francisco. ... New York OF Brennan Boesch (ribs) is on the travel roster for Wednesday night's game against Baltimore in Sarasota. ... Yankees LHP Cesar Cabral (elbow) threw batting practice for the first time.