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Yankees southpaw Sabathia to retire after 2019 season

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By Agence France-Presse

New York Yankees pitcher C.C. Sabathia announced Saturday he will retire at the end of the 2019 season, saying goodbye after his 19th Major League Baseball campaign.

The 38-year-old left-hander who helped the Yankees capture the 2009 World Series will hang up his glove for the last time after 11 seasons with New York. He began his career from 2001-2008 with the Cleveland Indians.

Sabathia announced his decision at the team’s training camp in Tampa, Florida, as his friends and family watched.

“I wouldn’t be here today after 18 years in the big leagues without so many people — starting with my mom,” Sabathia said. “Her sacrificing so much for me to be able to get to this point and live out my dream, I owe her the world.”

The Yankees signed Sabathia to a seven-year deal worth $161 million after the 2008 season.

“All I ever wanted for people to remember me was as a good teammate,” Sabathia said. “I look forward to 2019 being a championship season for us and I’m going to give everything I have and leave it out on the field.”

Sabathia has 246 career wins and needs only 14 strikeouts to become the 17th pitcher with 3,000 career Major League Baseball strikeouts. He won the 2007 Cy Young Award as top pitcher while with Cleveland.

“C.C. has been a great ambassador for our game,” Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said. “We are proud that he has represented our organization for the past decade. His competitive spirit is matched only by his devotion to family and his relentless philanthropic pursuits.

“C.C. 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.”

Retired Yankees star Derek Jeter said Sabathia “embodies what it means to be a professional athlete, and has been an incredible ambassador for baseball.”

Four-time NBA Most Valuable Player LeBron James congratulated Sabathia, saying, “Not only is he one of the best pitchers to ever play the game, but he’ll also go down as one of the great competitors to ever pick up a baseball. His genuine love of the game and his undeniable passion have brought so much joy to fans for 19 seasons.”