CC Sabathia, starting pitcher for the New York Yankees, entered an alcoholic rehabilitation center on Monday, Oct. 5, the day before the Yankees’ American League wildcard game against the Houston Astros.
“As difficult as this decision is to share publicly, I don’t want to run and hide,” Sabathia said in a statement. “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.
“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,” said Sabathia. “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.”
The decision came as a surprise to Sabathia’s teammates and the Yankees management, according to General Manager Brian Cashman. Sabathia has had a number of outbursts on the field this season and in August, he was involved in a near-brawl outside of a Toronto nightclub. Though none of these necessarily indicate a drinking problem, Cashman called the incidents “uncharacteristic,” and he did not know whether alcohol was involved or not.
Sabathia’s fellow Yankees were supportive of his choice, despite the high stakes of Tuesday’s game. Teammate Alex Rodriguez said, “We play for CC now. CC has gone to the mat for us many, many times. I know me personally and lot of us in here, we wouldn’t have a ring if it weren’t for CC.”
“We all have battles; we all have things that we deal with in life,” said outfielder Slade Heathcott. “Anyone in the world can relate. It showed a lot of courage on his part.”
2015 was a rough season for Sabathia on the mound, as well. After returning from knee surgery, the former Cy Young Award winner and All-Star went 6-10 with a 4.73 earned run average before going on the disabled list in late August. Despite his rocky performance, Sabathia is still under contract with the Yankees for $50 million over the next two years.
Sabathia is expected to return to the Yankees for spring training in 2016. If New York wins the AL wildcard on Tuesday, Sabathia likely would have started one game of the American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals.