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Oct. 5 CC Sabathia Yankees Pregame interview

October 5, 2017

Q. Just to follow up on what you were talking about when you sat down, what is it like to be here 20 years later? This is where you started, and now to get an opportunity to pitch here in the playoffs.CC SABATHIA: Yeah, I think it's going to be

Q. Just to follow up on what you were talking about when you sat down, what is it like to be here 20 years later? This is where you started, and now to get an opportunity to pitch here in the playoffs.
CC SABATHIA: Yeah, I think it's going to be a lot of fun. Obviously, it's exciting to come back to Cleveland. I kind of grew up here. To be able to pitch in the playoff game here is going to a lot of fun, even if it's on the other side. So we're excited, and I think it will be fun tomorrow night.

Q. CC, how would you kind of describe the year in terms of the slow start for you a little bit and then hurting your knee in Toronto, thinking maybe you're going to retire, and then a couple weeks later you're celebrating, and now you're in the playoffs.
CC SABATHIA: I think it was a good year for me up until that point with the health-wise. Had that scare in Toronto. Didn't really know what the future would hold. Getting home and talking with my wife, just talking with the training staff being able to get back ten days later and be able to pitch and help the team get into the playoffs. Feels good to be sitting here.

Q. When you look at that lineup, what do you think?
CC SABATHIA: It's a good lineup. Top to bottom, they do everything. They run. They got power. They make you throw a lot of pitches. It's going to be tough to face them tomorrow, but just look to be aggressive like I always do in the strike zone and try to get them to mis-hit some balls.

Q. CC, you had said before the season started, that you intend to pitch on beyond 2017. But did you need a year like this to sort of reinforce that idea in your own mind that you could continue?
CC SABATHIA: Yeah. I mean, in my mind, I definitely feel like I'm capable of pitching, but I feel like I need to go out and prove that. I felt like this year I did that, being able to go out and when I'm healthy, to be able to pitch effectively and help the team win baseball games.

Q. Not saying you guys are going to lose tonight by any means, but you're 9-0 following a loss this year. Why do you think you've been able to be the team stopper?
CC SABATHIA: I don't know. That's something I don't even think about. You just go out and try to perform well. And obviously, these times this year has been after a loss when I've pitched the best. So just one of those things where it's one of those stats of the year, I guess.

Q. Since you got here and you had that playoff run from '09 to '12, you guys are always the favorites, a ton of stars. Does it feel any different this year, kind of underdogs, at least in the public's eye, and obviously a younger team?
CC SABATHIA: Yeah, it's different. It's a different feeling for us. Obviously, being the underdogs, but you can't tell anybody in that room we're underdogs. We feel like we should be here, and we feel like we can play with anybody. That's a good feeling to be able to feel like you matchup well against anybody, and I think we do in that room believe that.

Q. Sorry, if I keep bringing this up. About eight weeks ago, you thought you were walking away and your career was over because of your knee. To be able to go from there to here so quickly, is that meaningful for you?
CC SABATHIA: Yeah, it means a lot. Like I said, I didn't know what I was going to do or what the future would hold. Obviously, to be sitting here, getting ready to pitch a playoff game tomorrow feels really good, and the knee feels good. Hopefully, it holds up, and I can go out and pitch effectively tomorrow.

Q. I'm assuming you have talked to Severino. What advice did you give him just for him to bounce back from the other day?
CC SABATHIA: Just to stay his self. That's the tough thing, pitching your first playoff game in an elimination game. He's 23, 24 years old. So Seve's got a long career ahead of him. I think he's got a bright future. I think this will just be a little bump. Nobody will ever think about that start in years to come.

Q. You've been back to Cleveland many times since you left here, but how do they generally treat you here, and what do you think it will be like when you pitch against the Indians?
CC SABATHIA: I usually get a good reception here. I got traded from here. So it wasn't like I left. So I still know everybody that works down under here, and a lot of people that still work in organization. So I've been treated pretty well here, as a visitor and even better when I played here. I loved here.

Q. You played for both teams. How do you think you'll be remembered, an Indian or a Yankee?
CC SABATHIA: I think I'm a Yankee now. This is where I spent most of my career now. I've been nine years here. I won a championship here. I got to play with some great players. So I think people, I guess, will remember me as a Yankee.

I mean, I played for both, and I love both organizations, but I think I played here longer to, I guess, be considered a Yankee.

Q. CC, this is certainly not your first rodeo, but as you get further in your career, does each postseason start become that much more cherish-able for you?
CC SABATHIA: Yeah, for sure. Postseason -- I mean, every start for me now, I enjoy and just getting an opportunity to play. Obviously, being in this position to have a chance to win a championship is what you play for. Yeah, you cherish all of them.

When you were younger -- I went to the playoffs my very first year and thought, oh, I'll be here every year. Didn't go for six years. So you have to cherish them all.

Q. CC, just going back to the conversation with Severino, do you remember what your first playoff start was like? Were you that amped up and nervous, the way he seemed to be?
CC SABATHIA: Yeah, I was. We scored 17 runs in that game, though, so I didn't -- they took the pressure off of me. You know, it was a different situation my first playoff start. I had all veterans -- Ellis Burks, Jim Thome, Raffi Alomar. So I was able to just kind of settle down and go out and pitch, and those guys scored a lot of runs.

It was a different situation. Obviously, Seve being so young on a young team, being the ace, that's a tough thing to do to try to go out and pitch an elimination game.

Q. CC, you talk about Seve being so young. How do you think guys like Judge and Sanchez and even Bird have handled the postseason so far?
CC SABATHIA: I think they've been great. Those guys are so mature. Even Seve too. Guys are so mature and well beyond their years that they're able to slow the game down, go out and handle precious situations well. I mean, obviously, Judge's at bat in the first inning and him coming up and hitting a home run. Birdie had a big RBI. So these guys are huge parts of our team and carried us to this point. So we need them to be mature and slow the game down at this point.

Q. CC, do you enjoy pitching this kind of a game on the road in a hostile environment? If so, why?
CC SABATHIA: I do. I really do enjoy it. I've always enjoyed, I guess, pitching on the road. I don't know, it's a weird thing. It doesn't bother me, the crowd or anything like that. So obviously, being really familiar with the park here, I feel like I can be able to go out tomorrow and hopefully pitch a good game for us.

Q. Who do you think LeBron's rooting for?
CC SABATHIA: Man, I don't know. I know he's a Yankee fan, but I think he has to put on a front for the city.