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

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.