Yankees lefthander CC Sabathia made official on Saturday what he already has made clear: The 2019 MLB season will be his last.
Sabathia held a news conference at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa to make his retirement announcement, while taking the opportunity to thank everyone who has helped him throughout his career.
"I just wanted to make this announcement that 2019 is my final season," Sabathia said Saturday. "I want to thank a lot of people. I wouldn't be here today, 18 years in the big leagues, without so many different people.
"All I've ever wanted for people to remember me as is just a good teammate, and that means a lot to me for you guys sitting here today. ... Thank you to all my teammates who have helped me throughout the years to be able to get to this point. With that being said, 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, who'll turn 39 in July, signed a one-year contract in November and made it clear he would be finishing his career this season, his 19th in the majors. In 29 starts last season, Sabathia was 9-7 with a 3.65 ERA.
“CC has been a great ambassador for our game, and we are proud that he has represented our organization for the past decade," Yankees principal owner Hal Steinbrenner said in a statement. "His competitive spirit is matched only by his devotion to family and his relentless philanthropic pursuits. 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.”
He needs 14 strikeouts to reach 3,000 for his career but will miss the first five games of the 2019 season as he's suspended for hitting the Rays' Jesus Sucre with a pitch in late September and then yelling a profanity in the direction of Tampa Bay's dugout. The HBP was in retaliation for the Rays' Andrew Kittredge throwing near Austin Romine's head.
Sabathia is penciled in to make his first start April 3 against the Tigers at Yankee Stadium.
In 18 seasons, mostly with the Indians and Yankees, Sabathia is 246-153 with a 3.70 ERA.