Yankees veteran starter CC Sabathia: “Big dog” mentality

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 30: CC Sabathia /

CC Sabathia rolled his ankle at practice during spring training on Wednesday and, while there was no cause for alarm, there was cause for concern among Yankees fans.

Aside from Sabathia, the Yankees did not sign a starting pitcher in the offseason to compete for a rotation spot, instead, electing to give Chad Green and others, such as Chance Adams and Justus Sheffield a look in Spring Training.

Despite 27 starts with a 14-5 record and 3.69 ERA in 2017, the 37-year-old Sabathia has chronic knee problems, which will be on everyone’s mind as this season begins.

In 2017, Sabathia underwent a series of injections to lubricate his right knee; and to this day, he pitches with a brace on it. What are the Yanks’ expectations of Sabathia for 2018?

So what are the Yankees’ expectations of Sabathia for 2018?

The Yanks expect stability in the rotation, a good leader and fit in the clubhouse and a battle-tested veteran of the American League East to take the lead in winning the division and beyond.

Tyler Norton of pinstripealley.com says of Sabathia:

"The Yankees left-hander has built a storied career around his ability to serve as a stopper. He could take a team on his back for significant period of time.More from Yankees NewsBaseball Reference proves Yankees’ Aaron Judge lives rent free in BostonYankees’ Clay Holmes trade just became even bigger disaster for PiratesMets stealing New York Post’s entire Yankees offseason plan is hilariousYankees add to championship core with Wilmer Difo signingAaron Judge’s ‘breadcrumbs’ showed he was never leaving Yankees, has more moves in mind"

Sabathia was 10-1 for the Yankees after a loss during the ’17 regular season. There’s a lot of desire and determination left in the “big dog,” as he said at the time of his re-signing, he felt he had “unfinished business” with the Yankees after the surprise of coming within a game of the World Series.

Sabathia returned to the Yankees in December on a one-year deal for $10 million (plus $2 million in performance bonuses), not only because he is the stopper, but also because he is the leader of this team.

Sabathia is the player, after all, who recently said that the Yanks are glad to be a hated team once again, the team every other club wants to come after and beat.

Corey Masisak of the New York Post reported that when asked what Sabathia’s first thought was when he heard Stanton had been acquired, he replied, “World Series.”

Next: Is this finally the year of the Bird?

Sabathia was interviewed by Matt Vasgersian and Harold Reynolds on the MLB Network and said, “We want that big dog presence back,” and make no mistake he leads the pack.