ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — CC Sabathia will make one more trip to Cleveland after all.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said on Friday that Sabathia -- who began his big-league career in Cleveland nearly 20 years ago and announced his intent to retire at season’s end last November -- will be honored next week in the city where he spent his first eight seasons.
“We are delighted that CC and his family will join us in Cleveland,” Manfred said in a statement. “We look forward to celebrating his many accomplishments during our All-Star Game festivities.”
Sabathia said Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who will manage the American League squad, called him a couple of weeks ago and asked him if he wanted to be involved in some capacity.
“I was like, ‘yeah,’ ” Sabathia said before Friday night’s game against the Rays. “It was just exciting to have the league think it was cool for me to go. It’s exciting.”
Sabathia, 251-157 with a 3.71 ERA in 19 seasons, is a six-time All-Star, including from 2010-12 with the Yankees. He spoke fondly of his time in Cleveland on the eve of his June 8 start there, saying it was “a great time for me.”
He was chosen by the Indians in the first round (20th overall) in the 1998 draft and debuted with them as a 20-year-old in 2001. Sabathia went 106-71 with a 3.83 ERA in eight seasons with Cleveland, winning the AL Cy Young Award in 2007, before being traded to the Brewers at the 2008 deadline. He signed with the Yankees before the 2009 season.
“It’s cool that it’s in Cleveland,” said Sabathia, whose wife, Amber, gave birth to three of the couple’s four children there. “I would have went regardless, but the fact that it is there I think made it easy for everybody to make that decision.”
Sabathia, who became only the third lefthander to record 3,000 strikeouts in a career earlier this season, said he’ll be on the field during Monday’s Home Run Derby – a favorite event of his over the years – but otherwise isn’t sure what he’ll do.
“I have no idea what it’ll actually be,” Sabathia said. “Alex said maybe an honorary coach or something like that. But just to be around and have MLB want to recognize my career is a cool thing.”
He added: “It’s amazing. Major League Baseball doesn’t normally do things like this, so to be the guy that they're honoring, it feels good. This is awesome.”
Hicks, Sanchez get a rest
Aaron Hicks and Gary Sanchez were not in the starting lineup Friday night, and Aaron Boone likely will rest Didi Gregorius either Saturday or Sunday.
“Just trying to be mindful of making sure our guys are built up for the long haul,'' Boone said, "especially some of these guys who are returning from some things [injuries].”
Hicks pinch hit for Mike Tauchman in the eighth inning and homered to tie the score at 4-4. Sanchez pinch hit for Austin Romine in the 10th and struck out.