TAMPA, Fla. — CC Sabathia can envision the perfect ending to his final big-league season.
“Right now I’m just focused on trying to win the championship and have a parade at the end of the year,” Sabathia said Saturday. “That would be a great way to top this thing off.”
The Vallejo native, 38, agreed in November to a one-year, $8 million contract and said the 2019 season will be his last.
Sabathia, who won a World Series ring with the Yankees in 2009, had a stent inserted after a blockage was found in an artery from his heart in December. He has had a chronic right knee problem that has required several operations.
“Why now? It’s time,” Sabathia said with a laugh. “My knee, just the shape that it’s in. My family is getting older. It’s time for me to be with them and be around them.”
Pitchers and catchers, and some position players taking part in early workouts ,were in attendance at Steinbrenner Field for Sabathia’s remarks.
“All I ever wanted for people to remember me as was just a good teammate,” Sabathia said. “It’s been a great ride. Just so many countless different memories that I’ll have. It’s priceless, it’s been great.”
Photo: Lynne Sladky / Associated Press
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Managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner and vice chairperson Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal, who hugged Sabathia and took a photo of him and his family, also were present.
“He’s special,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. “He’s a fan favorite. He’s a (Steinbrenner) family favorite. I think CC has done everything and anything he possibly could in terms of leadership and performance.”
Hal Steinbrenner said he hasn’t given any thought about retiring Sabathia’s No. 52 because “he still has baseball to play.”
The 2007 AL Cy Young Award winner with Cleveland, Sabathia is 246-153 with a 3.70 ERA and 2,986 strikeouts in 18 seasons. He was 9-7 with a 3.65 ERA in 29 starts last season. This will be his 11th year with the Yankees.
“I think he’s a Hall of Famer and I think he will get in,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone, a former teammate of Sabathia said. “Eighteen years in and still a really good pitcher in this league.”
Sabathia said he has no interest in coaching or being a manager, but he said he would like to return as a guest spring training instructor.
As part of his farewell season, Sabathia will be hosting 52 kids from a local Boys and Girls Clubs at the first game of the final road series in all AL cities, including Oakland. He will also do that once at a National League park, Oracle Park in San Francisco.
Mark Didtler is an Associated Press writer.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/CC-Sabathia-looking-to-end-career-with-2019-13622884.php.