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CC Sabathia wants to join Yankees' front office after retiring

Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia smiles as he prepares

Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia smiles as he prepares to throw out a ceremonial first pitch before the All-Star Game on Tuesday in Cleveland. Credit: AP/John Minchillo

CLEVELAND – CC Sabathia’s career will end after this season.

The lefthander left no doubt about that Tuesday night at Progressive Field, where he was honored before the 90th All-Star Game, throwing out the ceremonial first pitch to Sandy Alomar.

Sabathia was honored again with two outs in the top of the ninth and the American League leading, 4-3. AL manager Alex Cora sent Sabathia out for a mound visit to chat with Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman, Gleyber Torres and the rest of the AL infielders to get one more standing ovation from the crowd in Cleveland. Chapman earned the save and Masahiro Tanaka, who pitched a scoreless second inning, got the W as the AL won its seventh straight All-Star Game.

“No, no, no,” Sabathia said, laughing, cutting the question off. “No unretiring. My knee says there’s no unretiring.”

But he stressed that if it is up to him, it will only be his on-field career coming to an end.

“I definitely want to be in the front office,” Sabathia said late Tuesday afternoon inside the American League clubhouse, which also serves as the Indians' clubhouse, where Sabathia spent many nights when he pitched for Cleveland from 2001-08. “Special assistant, be around. Around the team, around the club. I live in Jersey, and I definitely want to be around the Yankees for years to come.”

Sabathia, who recorded his 3,000th strikeout and his 250th win this season, said he’s already had informal discussions with general manager Brian Cashman.

“I’ve been in his ear a little bit,” Sabathia said, smiling.

Carlos Beltran, a former Yankees teammate of Sabathia’s, joined the club last winter as a special adviser to Cashman.

“I talk to Los a lot, he’s one of my good friends,” Sabathia said. “Just seeing what he does, being around the ballpark pretty much every day and helping out and being around the guys, I think it would be something I could do and have fun doing.”

Sabathia said whatever role the Yankees might have for him would not have to be in the big leagues.

“Both,” he said. “I would love to go to Trenton and see the guys down there, go to spring training. When I was down in extended [spring training in Tampa] this year, I got to hang around with a lot of those guys, I was watching bullpens and stuff, and that was fun. It’s fun to do that stuff and be around those guys.”

Sabathia said he would be interested in being a guest instructor, although maybe not right away.

“I don’t know about next year,” he said. “I want to do my own thing for a little bit, but the next spring [2021] for sure.”

Sabathia, a six-time All-Star, including from 2010-12 with the Yankees, spent Monday night on the field with his four children, taking in the Home Run Derby. The Mets' Pete Alonso won but Vlad Guerrero Jr. of the Blue Jays stole the show.

“It made me so happy, it just validated why we came here and made the right decision,” said Sabathia, who is 251-157 with a 3.71 ERA, including 5-4, 4.03 this season. “To be a part of this is awesome, and I’m just thankful to the Yankees and the Steinbrenner family and the commissioner for bringing me here. It was cool. Vladdy hit 91 homers, man. It was insane. It was just incredible.”  

Sabathia said “even without any of that stuff,” meaning reaching 3,000 strikeouts and 250 wins, “I feel like I’ve had ... a dream career.”

Not that those milestones were insignificant.

“Adding all that stuff on top of it, getting a chance to get 3,000 strikeouts, winning 250 games, enjoying the trip to London with the team, being here at the All-Star Game and hopefully ending off the season right with a parade would be good.”

The chance for another ring was the No. 1 draw for Sabathia, who has battled knee problems the last five years, to play one more season. One more chance to win a second championship – he won one in 2009, his first season with the Yankees – this time with an entirely new group.

“That was a huge, huge part of it, having a chance to win,” Sabathia said, smiling again. “And honestly, just being with this group of guys. I know this group of guys — Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Gleyber Torres — they’re going to win the World Series. I want to be here. I don’t want to be in the front office when they do. I want to be a player. This is my one last chance, so they have to do it for me.”

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