Yankees: C.C. Sabathia removed from ALCS roster; career over
No one wanted to see C.C. Sabathia’s 19-year career end on an injury. Unfortunately, that’s precisely what happened, as the future Yankees Hall of Famer was removed in the eighth inning of ALCS Game 4, after dislocating his throwing shoulder.
Yankees fans gave C.C. Sabathia one last standing ovation as he left the field for what is likely to be his final time as a professional.
Manager Aaron Boone called on Sabathia in the eighth inning of Game 4 — and the Big Fella got two outs on 20 pitches, 11 strikes. However, his final two offerings were in the low 80s. Sabathia then winced — favoring his left shoulder, which caused the trainer to trot to the mound.
And although Sabathia threw a test pitch, the 2009 World Series champion was forced to head to the dugout — tears in his eyes.
Added to the ALCS roster to be used in situational matchups, we were led to believe Sabathia’s shoulder, which kept him from suiting up in the final regular-season series against Texas and the ALDS, was healed.
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While I doubt the Yankees would have included Sabathia on their 25-man roster as a sign of respect, right-handed reliever Ben Heller now takes Sabathia’s place on the roster for as long as the Yanks can stretch this series out.
Heller, who returned to the big league team in September after rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, allowed one run in 7.1 innings while striking out nine.
Unfortunately, even if Sabathia’s shoulder were to heal miraculously, his removal from the ALCS roster makes him ineligible for the World Series.
Down 3-games-to-1, set to face a fully rested Justin Verlander, will be a tall task. Should the Yanks get to Verlander, since they had him on the ropes numerous times in Game 2 and were unable to deliver the knockout punch, it won’t get any easier with Gerrit Cole penciled in to pitch Game 6 back in Houston.
However, the Yankees need to take one game at a time and get back to the basics of what they did so successfully this season; good-enough starting pitching, timely hitting and stellar performances from the bullpen. I don’t want to hear there’s no gas left in the tank!
The 17th pitcher in MLB history with over 3,000 strikeouts — and only the third left-hander to do so, Sabathia’s 251 wins, career 3.74 ERA and 2007 Cy Young Award will likely see him enter the hallowed halls of Cooperstown in five years. It’s just a shame that the last memory we have of Sabathia will be of a “warrior” no longer able to carry on.