CC Sabathia on Friday responded to Jim Rice in the latest development of a back-and-forth between the two.
Sabathia got the win Thursday as his New York Yankees topped the Boston Red Sox 6-2 in the first of a key four-game series between the franchises. The southpaw was upset both during and after the game about the Red Sox trying to bunt on him and take advantage of a shaky knee that landed the pitcher on the disabled list.
After the game, Rice, a Red Sox Hall of Famer and current NESN analyst, told Sabathia to stop complaining and instead go on a diet.
Word of Rice’s criticism got back to Sabathia, who referred to the former outfielder as “bitter.”
Who had Jim Rice and CC Sabathia being at the center of a controversy between the rival clubs this weekend? Things should only get more interesting in the next three games of the series.
The Boston Red Sox decided to come out bunting against CC Sabathia on Thursday night, and saying the New York Yankees pitcher did not agree with the strategy would be an understatement.
In the first inning, Red Sox second baseman Eduardo Nunez reached base by laying down a bunt and forcing an errant throw to first from Sabathia. The next two batters walked to load the bases, but Sabathia got out of the jam. After the lefty retired the side, he screamed toward the Boston dugout to express his discontent over Nunez bunting.
“It’s just kind of weak to me,” Sabathia said after the game, via John Harper of the New York Daily News. “It shows me what they’ve got over there.”
Sabathia, 37, has a bad right knee that has forced him to wear a brace. The brace helps eliminate pain he used to deal with when landing on his right leg, but he’s a big guy who didn’t move around well before the knee problems. He felt the Red Sox were being cowards for trying to take advantage of his lack of mobility.
“I think they just think I’m a bigger guy who can’t field my position, so ‘we’re going to try to bunt instead of swinging the bat,'” Sabathia said. “I mean, they have a really good lineup. I want to go out and compete against them. I just feel like sometimes they don’t want to. … Scared. I mean, let’s go, let’s play. Swing the bat.”
The Red Sox are trying to win the AL East, and they currently have a 4.5-game over the Yankees after New York’s 6-2 win on Thursday. It seems absurd that Sabathia is calling them out for exploiting his weakness in a situation like that. He told reporters that Nunez — a former teammate — apologized before his second at-bat, but Nunez’s take on the situation told a different story.
Unfortunately for fans of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry, Sabathia barking at the Boston dugout didn’t lead to any fireworks. He wouldn’t have been worried if they did.
“I don’t give a f— about their reaction,” the former Cy Young Award winner said. “I don’t care what they have to say. I’m out there early every day. If they’ve got something to say, we can meet in center field.”
Sabathia said he doesn’t have any personal issues with anyone on the Red Sox roster, but it’s no secret he has some problems with the city of Boston. He has dominated the Red Sox this season, so perhaps he felt he earned the right to call them out.
New Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian drew some cross-sport inspiration in his battle with alcoholism.
Speaking with the media on Wednesday, Sarkisian revealed that watching an October 2015 SportsCenter feature on New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia, who also struggled with the disease, inspired him to seek treatment.
“I was actually at home on a Sunday night and I was watching SportsCenter, and Scott Van Pelt was doing his editorial,” said Sarkisian, per Vaughn McClure of ESPN. “That night was when CC Sabathia had decided to go to treatment before the Major League Baseball playoffs. I thought to myself, ‘Whoa, here’s somebody who is like me, who is in a very high-profile position in sports – ace pitcher of the New York Yankees — and was being relatively commended or almost celebrated for going to do what he did.’
“I knew I needed to [go],” he continued. “I didn’t know how to go about it. But that thing gave me a feeling of, ‘There’s a like person that is going to do this. I know I need to do it. Now how, what, when.’ So I made the decision to go do it. It’s been the best decision of my life.”
Sarkisian’s drinking problem led to his firing as head football coach of the USC Trojans the very same month that feature aired. But after entering treatment, he bounced back by landing an assistant job at Alabama before making the leap to the NFL last February with the defending NFC champion Falcons. As for Sabathia, whose struggles at the time were equally troubling, he continues to produce for the Yankees post-treatment as he nears age 37, and it’s definitely great to see both men land on their feet again.
Adam Jones’ horrible experience playing in Boston on Monday night is not coming as a shock to one of his fellow black players.
New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia said on Tuesday that Boston is the only MLB city in which he has been called the N-word.
Boston has long been viewed as a city where the fans can be racist, as Jones and Sabathia are not the first baseball players to say they have received racial taunts while playing there.
The Red Sox and MLB have apologized to Jones for the treatment he received on Monday night, as has Boston’s mayor. Red Sox star Mookie Betts has called on the team’s fans to stand up for Jones.
CC Sabathia has one year remaining on his current monster contract with the New York Yankees. The left-hander is nowhere close to as dominant as he was four or five years ago, but that does not mean he is considering retirement.
Sabathia, who has been with the Yankees since 2009, knows for certain that he wants to continue pitching beyond the 2017 season. If he can do it in New York, even better.
“I know I want to pitch after next year, but I haven’t thought about where or what,” the 36-year-old told Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News. “Hopefully it will be here. We’ll see.”
While his 8-12 record and 4.02 ERA this season is hardly vintage Sabathia, he pitched significantly better this year than he has in the previous two or three. The 2007 AL Cy Young Award winner may no longer intimidate opposing pitchers, but he is still very confident in his abilities.
“It’s definitely been an improvement. Health has been a big factor in that,” he said. “I feel like I’ve made big strides in becoming the pitcher I’ve been trying to become. I’m excited about it. As long as I’m healthy, I feel like I’ll be able to get big-league hitters out. I’ve proven that.”
Between his diminishing arm strength and the well-documented issues he has had in his personal life, Sabathia won’t be in line for a big contract when his current deal expires in a year. However, he is a left-hander who made 29 or more starts in each of the past two seasons. If he can do the same next year, he shouldn’t have trouble finding work.
“I just know myself,” Sabathia said. “I know I feel like it’s not my time yet. Barring any crazy injuries, I know I can pitch past next year. I feel like this is just the beginning of what I’m trying to do. I feel like there’s a lot more still to learn and a lot better to get. It’s exciting.”
We shall see.
An arms race is brewing in Toronto.
According to a report by Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball, the Blue Jays sent scouts to watch both CC Sabathia and Andrew Cashner in their respective starts on Thursday. Heyman notes that the move could be an indication that Toronto is trying to acquiring another starter in order to shift All-Star right-hander Aaron Sanchez into a bullpen role.
Sabathia, 36, has gone 5-8 with a 4.04 ERA, a 1.38 WHIP, and 76 strikeouts in 17 starts for the Yankees this season. Unfortunately however, he probably didn’t put his best foot forward in front of the scouts on Thursday.
The 29-year-old Cashner, on the other hand, sports a 4-7 record this year with a 4.79 ERA, a 1.41 WHIP, and 61 strikeouts in 15 starts for the Padres.
Based on their 2016 performances and the non-contending status of each of their teams, both pitchers appear to be on the lower end of their individual values. With the Blue Jays just 1.5 games behind the Red Sox for the AL East division lead at the moment, acquiring another innings-eater to complement their potent offense could work wonders for a potential late-season push.
Image Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
C.C. Sabathia has delivered thousands of pitches during his 16-year major league career. Unfortunately, one on Thursday didn’t go as planned.
During the sixth inning of the Yankees’ game against the Orioles, Sabathia was in the middle of his windup for a pitch to J.J. Hardy when the spikes of the veteran pitcher’s right shoe got caught in the mound dirt. The result was Sabathia taking a tumble towards home plate.
Sabathia was called for a balk and Chris Davis, who was on first base, was awarded second base. On the afternoon, Sabathia allowed four runs over 6 2/3 innings as the Yankees lost 4-1. He is now 5-8 on the season and has a 4.04 ERA.
All wasn’t bad for Sabathia on Thursday, though. He celebrated his 36th birthday and got to watch his team play in the Roc Nation Summer Classic charity basketball event to benefit a worthy cause.
After a lot of talk about CC Sabathia starting the season in the bullpen, it looks like the southpaw will make the New York Yankees’ starting rotation after all.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi announced Friday that Sabathia will open the season as the team’s No. 5 starter.
Sabathia is coming off a season where he went 6-10 with a 4.73 ERA. He missed the end of the season to seek treatment for alcoholism.
Once a Cy Young Award winner and ace for the Yankees, Sabathia has struggled for the last three seasons. He has battled knee problems and a decline in average fastball velocity, which have contributed to his drop-off as a pitcher.
The large lefty has posted a 5.51 ERA this spring training. He is getting the No. 5 starter job over Ivan Nova.
CC Sabathia may not have a spot in the starting rotation waiting for him.
According to ESPN’s Andrew Marchand, Sabathia is in a battle with Ivan Nova for the fifth and final spot in the Yankees’ rotation, and the team isn’t afraid to relegate him to the bullpen if Nova outpitches him.
“This is a hard decision,” said manager Joe Girardi. “CC has meant so much to this club. Nova has been here. It is something that has to be well thought out.”
Nova pitched Friday and didn’t really do himself any favors, allowing five earned runs in 4.2 innings against Baltimore, so the door is definitely not closed on Sabathia pitching his way into the starting rotation.
Sabathia is clearly in his decline phase – his 4.73 ERA in 2015 was actually the lowest he’s posted over the last three seasons. He’s also due $25 million in 2016 and another $25 million in 2017, provided he doesn’t encounter any left shoulder injuries before the option vests. Sabathia is trying to overcome an alcohol problem that ended his 2015 prematurely, but has struggled thus far during spring training, giving up twelve runs – eight of them earned – in 12.1 innings.
CC Sabathia has an interesting strategy to stay sober: go out with his teammates as much as possible.
Sabathia explained to reporters on Friday that he feels spending time out with his teammates is the best way to maintain his sobriety.
“That’s something I kind of got away from the past couple of years,” Sabathia said, via Brendan Kuty of NJ.com. “Just kind of shutting myself into my hotel room and doing my deed. I’ll be out with my teammates, hanging out with the guys in the same role when I first got here, very social.”
Sabathia recognizes that this is unconventional, but different strategies work for different people.
“It’s different strokes for different folks I guess,” Sabathia said. “Some people cut that out entirely. I was always — that’s why I think it was so shocking to some of the people that I was always able to do what I wanted, go to concerts or do different things and not pick up a drink. Once I got by myself away, that’s when I would drink. I think it’s easy for me to be out in those social settings, hanging out with my friends, not worried about what they’re doing. It’s more how I feel about it.”
Not every person’s addiction issue is the same, so if this is what works for Sabathia, more power to him, and hopefully it proves successful. He’s been optimistic about his progress after how his season ended and how severe the problems apparently were.