TAMPA, Fla. (CBSNewYork) – Another longtime Yankee great is officially preparing for his farewell tour.
During a packed press conference, and surrounded by his family, CC Sabathia announced that 2019 will be his final season in the major leagues.
“I look forward to 2019 being a championship season for us, me going out and giving everything I have, and leaving it all out on the field,” Sabathia said at the Yankees spring training complex in Tampa Saturday.
The 18-year veteran has spent a decade in the Bronx, leading the Yankees to the 2009 World Series title in his first season with the club.
Sabathia thanked his mother, wife, the Steinbrenner family, and teammates past and present for their support over his storied career.
“CC has been a great ambassador for our game, and we are proud that he has represented our organization for the past decade. His competitive spirit is matched only by his devotion to family and his relentless philanthropic pursuits,” Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said.
“CC has always been a pillar in our clubhouse, and we look forward to him further cementing his impressive legacy this season and contributing to our championship goals.”
“CC has been one of the faces of Yankees baseball for a decade, and is a New York legend. I’m proud to call him a friend, and I’m proud of the impact he’s had both on and off the field,” rap and hip-hop artist, Fat Joe added in a statement about his friend’s upcoming retirement.
The 38-year-old is not the workhorse he was in his first five seasons with New York, but has remained a key member of the starting rotation as his career winds down.
Sabathia took the ball 29 times in 2018, going 9-7 with a 3.65 ERA.
Much of his transformation from a power pitcher to a “crafty lefty” has been credited to former teammate and mentor Andy Pettitte, who also wished the six-time All-Star well.
“When the Yankees signed CC in 2009, boy was I excited! I knew we were getting a workhorse and a man with a lot of passion to win, which is exactly what we did. CC’s will to win and competitive spirit is as good as I’ve seen in anyone I’ve ever pitched with,” Pettitte said.
“It’s going to be sad to see him leave the game, but what a mark he left on it. A great friend and a great teammate — I’m looking forward to seeing him go into the Hall of Fame one day.”
He’s battled chronic knee issues and in 2019 the team will be monitoring his recovery from another serious condition – heart surgery.
The lefty had a stent inserted in December after a blockage was found in an artery from his heart.
Despite the adversity, Sabathia looks to cap off a possible Hall of fame career in grand style. He sits just four wins away from 250 for his career and 14 strikeouts away from 3,000.