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CC: Knee good, Yanks looking to build on '16 finish

MLB.com @IanMBrowne

PUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic -- As CC Sabathia approaches what could be his final season with the Yankees, he feels healthy following recent right knee surgery and upbeat about the potential of his team.

The big lefty said the surgery he had in October was not a big deal, and absolutely no hindrance in his preparation for 2017.

PUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic -- As CC Sabathia approaches what could be his final season with the Yankees, he feels healthy following recent right knee surgery and upbeat about the potential of his team.

The big lefty said the surgery he had in October was not a big deal, and absolutely no hindrance in his preparation for 2017.

"I feel good," said Sabathia from David Ortiz's charity golf tournament. "Just had to get some things cleaned out of there, and I feel pretty good though. I start my throwing program Monday."

Though the Yankees were spectators for the postseason in '16, Sabathia loves the direction the franchise is going in and thinks the momentum from a late-season surge will carry over.

Unlike in recent years, the Yankees are relying on their young core of impressive homegrown talent, led by Gary Sanchez.

"It's exciting," Sabathia said. "Any time you can get younger. … I'm not helping in that regard. But any time we can get some young players in there, it's always exciting. To watch what Sanchez did last year was a lot of fun and kind of rejuvenated us and put us right where we wanted to go toward the end. Hopefully we can build on that and keep doing it and add some good pieces.

"We felt good. We felt really good about what we had going on. The pitching staff started picking up. We started playing better defense. We just fell a little short there, but hopefully we can just get this whole season under everybody's belt and come out this year and be ready to play."

After winning a World Series championship in his first season in pinstripes, Sabathia now enters the final season of his contract.

"I feel good, healthy," said Sabathia. "Just kind of waiting and seeing what's going to happen."

The 36-year-old hopes to have a lot of baseball left in him after his current deal expires.

"I hope so," Sabathia said. "It's all about health."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

New York Yankees, CC Sabathia