NEW YORK (WFAN) — Bigger isn’t always better.
CC Sabathia showed up to spring training this year with a dramatically slimmer physique. He pitched in just eight regular-season games before an ailing right knee forced him to shut it down for the season.
But he insists there are no dots to connect there, despite some who might think the mechanics of his new body contributed to the injury.
“Honestly, if I was as heavy as I was a couple of years ago, I think my knee would be even worse,” Sabathia said Thursday on WFAN’s “Boomer & Carton” show. “You know, just taking all the pounding and stuff. So I think that the weight loss has helped my knees.”
The left-hander reported to camp in Tampa this year 40 pounds below his all-time high of around 315, set in 2010.
“I feel better (being) lighter,” said Sabathia, who was promoting the star-studded Summer Classic Charity Basketball Game at Barclays Center. “I feel good. I’m a big guy; I’m never going to be 215 pounds or 200 pounds or be an underwear model or anything like that. I just want to be as healthy as possible.”
After doctors removed a bone spur during surgery last week, Sabathia acknowledged the knee probably wouldn’t return to 100 percent.
It wasn’t much of a surprise when the comment made headlines.
“Obviously, that’s not what I meant,” said Sabathia, whose next step will be stem-cell treatment. “It’s been 14 years (that I’ve been in the league). I’m never going to be what I was in 2001.”
He added: “I’m not making an excuse or anything like that. If I’m out there, I’m healthy enough to go out there and pitch and play and take responsibility for my performance — good or bad.”
The 34-year-old was coming off the worst year of his career, going 14-13 with a 4.78 ERA in 2013. He started 3-4 with a 5.28 ERA in 2014 before the knee injury prematurely ended his season.
The six-time All-Star and 2007 Cy Young Award winner expects to contribute once he’s ready to return next year. But at this point, it’s hard to imagine Sabathia returning to ace form.
“I’ll be able to come out in 2015 and help the team,” he said.
There’s good news in all this. Sabathia said his arm feels “great,” including his surgically repaired elbow, which had a bone spur removed from it after the 2012 season.
“Maybe it’s a little blessing that it’s getting some rest,” Sabathia said. “Hopefully it’ll be good for me next year.”
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