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CC Sabathia says Alex Rodriguez will be welcomed back

CC Sabathia of the Yankees pitches in the

CC Sabathia of the Yankees pitches in the bottom of the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers during the interleague game at Miller Park on May 10, 2014 in Milwaukee. Credit: Getty Images / Mike McGinnis

CC Sabathia said he wasn't up to speed on the latest Alex Rodriguez news but was aware of Mark Teixeira's comments in early October about A-Rod rejoining the club.

"I think he'll be received as one of our teammates,'' Sabathia said Friday night in Manhattan, where he was hosting a kick-off party for his annual CC Challenge, a charity scavenger hunt. "You listen to what Tex said in his comments. It's baseball, it's the clubhouse. He'll be received just like he was when he came back two years ago.''

That, of course, was August 2013, when Rodriguez created a circus as he played while appealing a 211-game suspension handed down by MLB as a result of his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal. A-Rod, who eventually accepted a season-long suspension that ended at the conclusion of the World Series, was back in the news earlier this week when the Miami Herald reported that he admitted an extensive past of PED use to federal authorities in January.

"That's kind of a part of our job being here [in New York],'' Sabathia said when asked if A-Rod's presence will be a distraction during spring training. He added, "Hopefully he can be healthy and help us.''

The 34-year-old lefthander hopes he can do the same after a cartilage issue in his right knee required surgery and cost him the bulk of 2014.

He said he has no concerns about the knee and doesn't plan to throw from a mound until mid-January. "It didn't make sense for me to get revved up all the way in October or November,'' said Sabathia, who has been throwing flat-ground sessions. "I know I'm fine.''

His goal is at least 200 innings and a playoff berth."Not being able to make the playoffs the last two years,'' he said, "is just unacceptable.''

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