Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia said in a statement this afternoon that he is checking himself into an alcohol rehabilitation center today. “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,” said Sabathia in a statement released by the Yankees on the eve of the team’s Wild Card playoff game against the Astros. “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.” Sabathia would have likely been in the team’s starting rotation should they advance beyond tomorrow night’s game.
Sabathia’s not the pitcher he was when he arrived in New York and immediately became the ace of the 2009 club that won the World Series. In 29 starts this year, he went 6–10 with a 4.73 ERA, and he hasn’t had an ERA under 4.00 since 2012. But he had pitched pretty well of late: He allowed one run or fewer in four of his five last starts, though he averaged less than six innings per outing over that span. Since returning from an injury on September 9, he went 3–2 with a very good 2.17 ERA. In his last start of the year, he threw five innings of one-run ball against Boston on October 1, when the Yankees clinched a postseason berth.
Sabathia’s spot in a potential postseason rotation would now likely be filled by either Adam Warren or Ivan Nova, both of whom started for the team down the stretch. Warren would appear to be the leading candidate: He split his time between the rotation and bullpen this year, making 17 starts after starting just three games in his first three big-league seasons. He’s been effective as a starter, going 3–3 with a 3.66 ERA in those appearances. Nova, meanwhile, is the more experienced option, but was just 6–11 with a 5.07 ERA this season.
Here’s Sabathia’s full statement, released by the Yankees:
“Today I am checking myself into an alcohol rehabilitation center to receive the professional care and assistance needed to treat my disease.
“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.
“I want to thank the New York Yankees organization for their encouragement and understanding. Their support gives me great strength and has allowed me to move forward with this decision with a clear mind.
“As difficult as this decision is to share publicly, I don’t want to run and hide. But for now please respect my family’s need for privacy as we work through this challenge together.
“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. 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.
“I am looking forward to being out on the field with my team next season playing the game that brings me so much happiness.”