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.”
“I’m definitely in a good place,” Sabathia said. “You’ve never got this thing beat; it’s always there and I’m always going to be a recovering alcoholic, but I’m in a good place. I’m excited about what’s coming ahead, not only in the season, but personally. I’m ready to go.”
Sabathia also spoke with the Daily News in November shortly after he left the Yankees for treatment. The team was beginning its playoff schedule at the time.
“To have all the support from them and the organization, it’s been fantastic,” he said. “When I talked to you last, I hadn’t seen everybody yet. I hadn’t been to the field. Getting all that support and love has been a lot of fun.
“Everybody was worried about me. To see me go through what I went through and come out on the other side a better person, I think everybody is excited. It was fun to get back and to be a part of the family.”
Sabathia added that his knee feels much better and his upper body feels stronger than it did when he compiled a 6-10 record with a 4.73 ERA last season.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of CC Sabathia’s decision to enter an alcohol rehabilitation program was the timing, being that he left the Yankees just before their Wild Card playoff game against the Astros. But after what took place during New York’s final series of the regular season, Sabathia knew it couldn’t wait.
“I woke up on that Sunday and was like, ‘I can’t do this no more,'” the lefthander said. “I came in on Sunday and felt like I needed to get some help. I know it was bad timing, but I felt like if I didn’t tell somebody then, I would have been in real trouble.”
While Sabathia insists he never drank at the ballpark or in the clubhouse (some rumors have indicated otherwise), he admitted that he was feeling the effects of his alcohol use during the Yankees’ day-night doubleheader on Saturday, Oct. 3, as well as the following day.
“I probably was still drunk from the night before or hung over,” Sabathia said. “It happened quick.”
Sabathia maintains that his alcoholism never affected his ability to pitch or prepare for his starts, though it is hard to imagine that someone could go on benders and not experience any negative effects. Sabathia says he was always alone — typically at a team hotel — when he went on a bender and usually showed up to work the next day and tried to sweat it out.
“I could always come to the field, sweat everything out, do my running and do everything I had to do,” he explained. “I pretty much just hid it, would be walking around hung over and sick all the time and still going through the motions.”
Sabathia turned 35 in July, so returning to pitch at a high level after what he has gone through will not be easy. But if he continues along the path he recently started down, he certainly has a fighting chance.
A new report suggests that CC Sabathia surprisingly announced his intention to check into alcohol rehab after the matter came to a “crisis point” over the weekend.
ESPN’s Wallace Matthews reports that after the Yankees’ game with the Orioles was rained out on Friday, Sabathia was seen walking “unsteadily” and failed to respond to greetings from reporters.
Matthews then adds this:
A short time later, an onlooker noticed Sabathia offering a paper cup containing a brown liquid to a teammate who was finishing up a workout, urging the teammate to “take a sip.” The teammate refused, saying he still had some running to do. Sabathia was then ushered out of the building and into a waiting cab by a third teammate.
This coincides with a report from the New York Post, which says Sabathia went on a heavy bender over the weekend, prompting his decision to check into rehab. That report said the Yankees pitcher drank every day last week except for the day he pitched.
“His drinking got really bad this weekend, and it put him in a really bad place,” said a source close to the team.
“He was afraid. He felt that if I don’t do this now and go into rehab, I don’t know what is going to happen.”
The last straw for Sabathia came during the team’s final regular-season series in Baltimore, where he spent most of his time pounding drinks at a hotel, the source said.
“He drank every day last week apart from the day he pitched,” the source said. “The tipping point was Friday when he was at the stadium. He carried on drinking Saturday.”
Additionally, The Post writes that while Sabathia is not known as a heavy drinker, he hooked the team up with booze and champagne on several occasions, including the playoff-clinching clubhouse party last week as well as the celebration for Alex Rodriguez’s 3000th hit. Sabathia is also said to have capped the weekend off by speaking with Yankees manager Joe Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman on Sunday saying that he needed help.
While the timing of Sabathia’s decision could not have come at a worse time for the Yankees, it takes a lot for someone to admit they have a problem and move quickly to address it and get treated before it gets even worse.
It’s especially so in Sabathia’s circumstances with the playoffs about to begin and the temptation to dismiss the bender as simply “a bad weekend,” so he definitely deserves props for his sense of urgency in getting the help he needs.
The 2007 AL Cy Young Award winner is dealing with something that’s bigger than baseball right now, and here’s hoping that we see a clean, healthy Sabathia out there on the mound again for the Yankees in 2016.
CC Sabathia will not be joining the New York Yankees as they begin their chase for a World Series championship Tuesday night, as the 35-year-old lefthander has announced he will be checking himself into an alcohol rehabilitation center.
“Today I am checking myself into an alcohol rehabilitation center to receive the professional care and assistance needed to treat my disease,” Sabathia said in a statement Monday, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
“I love baseball and I love my teammates like brothers, and I am also fully aware that I am leaving at a time when we should all be coming together for one last push toward the World Series. It hurts me deeply to do this now, but I owe it to myself and to my family to get myself right. I want to take control of my disease, and I want to be a better man, father and player.”
The Yankees are set to take on the Houston Astros in a Wild Card playoff game on Tuesday. Sabathia took part in the team’s champagne celebration after New York clinched a postseason berth last week. However, he clearly has more important things to focus on at the moment beyond baseball.
“Being an adult means being accountable. Being a baseball player means that others look up to you. I want my kids — and others who may have become fans of mine over the years — to know that I am not too big of a man to ask for help,” Sabathia wrote. “I want to hold my head up high, have a full heart and be the type of person again that I can be proud of. And that’s exactly what I am going to do.”
Sabathia had a very rough season, finishing with a 6-10 record and 4.73 ERA in 29 starts. He had pitched well recently with a 2.22 ERA over his last four starts and likely would have started a game in the ALDS, should the Yankees beat the Astros.
“I just flipped out, you know. I could have handled it better,” Sabathia told reporters, according to The Associated Press. “Made a bad decision. Sometimes these things happen.”
Sabathia said some hecklers set him off after they were getting on the 35-year-old about the brutal season he has had thus far. The former ace has a 4-9 record this year with a 5.23 ERA and has not been much help to the Yankees.
Fortunately, a friend who was with Sabathia pushed him into a taxi and got him away from the bar before a street brawl broke out. Yankees manager Joe Girardi reminded his players that they should always assume they are being filmed.
“You have to be more careful than you’ve ever been,” he said. “Everything’s fair game. There’s no privacy.”
Regardless of what was said to Sabathia, it’s not a good idea to go out on the town and surround yourself with the opposing team’s fans if you can’t handle having insults thrown your way. Ignoring the noise is all part of being a professional athlete, especially in a situation like that.
New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia nearly found himself at the center of a fight outside a bar in Toronto over the weekend.
According to TMZ, a huge brawl broke out outside EFS Nightclub early Saturday morning after the Yankees defeated the Toronto Blue Jays. A video allegedly shows Sabathia being restrained and forced into a car by a friend so that he stayed out of trouble.
It is unclear how the fight started, but witnesses told TMZ that people were yelling “go Blue Jays!” at Sabathia at one point.
Sabathia has been scratched from his scheduled Monday night start with the Yankees looking to get their rotation set up for a stretch of 16 games in 16 days. The altercation doesn’t appear to have anything to do with Sabathia being held out.
I don’t know who’s luckier in this situation — Sabathia for having a friend that got him out of harm’s way or whoever CC was angry with. Remember what Sabathia said about his offseason workout routine this past winter? I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of a beating from the lefthander.
“I lost a bunch of weight drastically, pretty quick, two years ago, and was kind of off-balance,” Sabathia said Saturday via the New York Daily News. “I didn’t know really how my body was working.”
After posting eight excellent seasons in a row, Sabathia struggled the last two seasons as he dealt with injuries. Part of the problem might have been that he no longer had the huge frame to support himself, and his body broke down as a result.
Sabathia says he gained around 20 pounds while rehabbing his knee, and he added 10 more over the winter to put him at 305.
“I feel like this is a good weight,” Sabathia said. “I feel a little stronger. I feel my legs under me, being a lot stronger, and being able to push off the mound.”