TAMPA, Fla. -- As he prepares for his 19th big league campaign, Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia will hold a news conference on Saturday to formally announce that he plans to retire at the end of the 2019 season.
The 38-year-old hurler has previously stated his intent to make 2019 his final season, most recently following a Dec. 11 angioplasty. Sabathia is also recovering from arthroscopic right knee surgery, the third consecutive year he has required a cleanup.
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Yankees manager Aaron Boone said on Wednesday that Sabathia will be brought along slowly this spring.
"Obviously he had the issue with the heart and had the stent put in," Boone said. "I'm happy to say that is all going really well, but it also slowed down his workout routine, coming off the knee surgery. We'll be careful with him here in the early days and slow-play him the first couple of weeks.
"He's doing well, but we'll make sure that his body and conditioning, he feels really good about when we start to ramp him up on the mound."
New York re-signed Sabathia to a one-year, $8 million contract in November. He was 9-7 with a 3.65 ERA in 153 innings in 2018, making 29 starts, and he took the loss in the season-ending Game 4 of the American League Division Series against the Red Sox.
Complaining of fatigue and shortness of breath following a December throwing session with teammate Dellin Betances, Sabathia was found to have a 90 percent blockage in an artery leading to his heart, he recently revealed on his "R2C2" podcast.
Sabathia said that he was told to continue the health changes that he has made over the last three years, including abstaining from alcohol and dieting. Listed at 300 pounds in the team's media guide, Sabathia said that he plans to continue losing weight after retirement. The hurler lost a cousin, Demetrius Davis, to heart disease in December 2012 at age 45.
"Thank God I caught it when I did, just being able to have the doctors see me right away and get it done," Sabathia said. "It was definitely a blessing. Obviously my family history of heart attacks and heart issues, and me being so big in my 20s and all that, the doctor said that this was probably going to happen."
Sabathia joined the Yankees for their charge to the 2009 World Series, compiling a 129-80 record with a 3.74 ERA with New York. He leads all active Major Leaguers in strikeouts (2,986), innings pitched (3,470) and quality starts (313).
He is 14 strikeouts shy of being the 17th pitcher in Major League history to reach the 3,000-strikeout plateau, and ranks third all-time among left-handers, behind Randy Johnson (4,875) and Steve Carlton (4,136).
"For me, CC is the mentor of the pitchers," Luis Severino said. "Any question that we need to ask about anything, he's there for us."