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Tearful Girardi to CC: 'I love you, man'

@HarriganMLB
October 18, 2019

Former Yankees manager Joe Girardi was overcome with emotion in an appearance on MLB Network on Thursday night as he expressed his appreciation for retiring left-hander CC Sabathia, who was forced from his appearance in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series against the Astros with a left shoulder

Former Yankees manager Joe Girardi was overcome with emotion in an appearance on MLB Network on Thursday night as he expressed his appreciation for retiring left-hander CC Sabathia, who was forced from his appearance in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series against the Astros with a left shoulder injury that will effectively end his career.

"That was not the way I wanted to see it end for him," Girardi said. "CC, you're a Hall of Fame pitcher that was as tough as any man I was ever around, what you went through on a daily basis just to be able to get on the mound. You were a great husband; you were a great father. You were probably the greatest teammate I've ever been around because of your ability to pull all 25 -- and sometimes all 50 -- people together in a clubhouse.

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"You were the guy that I always wanted on the mound when we needed a win," Girardi added, pausing as he fought back tears. "It was a privilege for me to manage you for nine years. I love you, man."

With Girardi at the helm, the Yanks won the franchise's 27th World Series title in 2009, Sabathia's first season with the team. Sabathia was a true ace for New York, tossing 230 innings with a 3.37 ERA in the regular season before firing another 36 1/3 frames with a 1.98 ERA in the postseason, earning ALCS Most Valuable Player Award honors along the way.

In the years that followed, Sabathia remained a reliable option for New York, even as he battled chronic knee problems and alcoholism. The left-hander reinvented himself late in his career, and earlier this season, he became the 17th member of the 3,000-strikeout club.

Girardi managed Sabathia with the Yankees until 2017. The 55-year-old has spent the past two years as an analyst for MLB Network and FOX Sports, but he is a candidate for a number of managerial vacancies.

Thomas Harrigan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @HarriganMLB.