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CC, Girardi lend a hand with hurricane relief effort

NEW YORK -- CC Sabathia's valuable left arm rests in a brace, a not-so-welcome reminder of his offseason elbow surgery, but that didn't stop the Yankees' ace from lending a hand at Yankee Stadium's hurricane relief drive on Wednesday.

Sabathia helped the Yankees bring in donations of nonperishable goods and household items inside the Stadium's Gate 2 at 164th Street and Jerome Avenue, as the push for supplies desperately needed in the wake of Hurricane Sandy continues.

"The first thing, me and [my wife] Amber looked at each other and said, 'How can we help?'" Sabathia said. "Seeing the devastation, the power out all over the place, I've never been through anything like this."

Goods are being accepted 24 hours a day, seven days a week, until further notice. Clubhouse manager Lou Cucuzza Jr. even wheeled the water, Gatorade, soda and toiletries normally made available to visiting clubs up to street level for donation.

Fans were also greeted by manager Joe Girardi, who stood alongside rapidly growing stacks of boxes and posed for photographs with Yankees fans toting bags of assorted items.

"I think it's extremely important that we give back to our community, and our community obviously is really affected by Hurricane Sandy," Girardi said. "I think it's time for us to pull together again as a community."

Yankees employees have been personally bringing the goods collected at Yankee Stadium's Gate 2 to devastated areas of the New York region. A convoy led by vice president of stadium operations Doug Behar was shuttled to Far Rockaway, Queens, on Tuesday night.

"It's been incredible. It's been sad," Behar said. "The range of emotions have been all over. It's hard to believe what you're seeing. You can't believe that this is happening in your backyard.

"It's also incredible to see the human spirit where people are helping each other out. We've met and made friends with a lot of volunteers that have lost everything. As one of them said, 'You've got to give to get back.' That kind of stuff just warms your heart."

Girardi said that he welcomed numerous friends to his Westchester, N.Y., home after the storm. Sabathia said that he and his family rode out the howling wind and driving rain at their home in Alpine, N.J., where several backyard trees fell, but the Sabathias otherwise escaped damage.

"The kids were scared hearing the wind, but fortunately we just hung around the house," Sabathia said.

One fan, Eddie Ro of the Bronx, learned about the Yankees' drive on and was greeted by Girardi after delivering a package of goods that included blankets, coats, hats, can openers and extension cords.

"I had a lot of stuff to give away, and it's the right thing to do," Ro said.

The Yankees have reached out to several of their sponsors to expand the distribution area of goods to Staten Island, New Jersey, Connecticut and other areas hit by the storm. The club also made a $500,000 donation to the American Red Cross for hurricane relief.

"There's a lot of ways that you can give back," Girardi said. "The message is that if you have extra time, extra resources -- extra clothes just laying around -- there's plenty of places to give them to, because people are really hurting."

New York Yankees