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Tuesday
Jul032018

Pitcher CC Sabathia credits training regimen for late-career success

Scott Clarke/ESPN Images(NEW YORK) -- Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia is pitching in the midst of his eighteenth Major League season, and it has been one of his most effective in several years.

Sabathia entered the month of July ranked among the top pitchers in the American League in earned run average (ERA), and has kept the Yankees in the running for a division title.

Weeks away from his 38th birthday, Sabathia says one of the keys to his late-career success has been his training regimen, a routine he developed while working out with his former teammate, Andy Pettitte.

"I think everything late in my career has been after Andy. We worked out a lot together when he was playing, and I was picking his brain on what to do in the offseason from a routine perspective," Sabathia said in an exclusive conversation with ABC News. "Andy Pettitte has been a great mentor... I've watched a lot of video of him the last couple of years, and what he's turned into the past couple of years, it's really helped me."

Sabathia was speaking before attending Triple Play Day at the Alfred E. Smith Recreation Center in New York City in late June. As he discussed his season and dedication to fitness with ABC News, he was kicking off a series of nationwide events with the Boys & Girls Clubs to encourage youth development, exercising, and physical health.

Sabathia says he has tried boxing in recent years--a newer workout routine for the long time ace, who stands six feet and six inches tall. He says boxing does not put as much stress on his lower body, and he has alternated between other workouts to put less stress on his joints, such as swimming.

Shaking up his exercise regimen is not the only change Sabathia made.

"Oh no, I've completely changed the style I pitched," Sabathia tells ABC News, when asked whether he adjusted the way he approaches pitching or if he made fewer, subtler changes. Earlier in his career, while he was pitching for the Cleveland Indians, Sabathia says he pitched with a "football mentality," something he believes he picked up while playing a variety of contact sports with the Boys & Girls Club as a kid. He was a harder thrower, a more aggressive pitcher, and accumulated more strikeouts than he does now.

Pitching into his late thirties, Sabathia has had to face the realities of playing baseball as his body fails to move as fast as it once did and does not recover as quickly: "I think it's just getting around older players and kind of realizing what you need to do to take that next step in your career."

Sabathia first joined the Yankees as a free agent in December 2008, leading New York to their 27th World Series championship in his first year with the team. Now in his tenth season in New York, Sabathia is continuing to develop his workout routine so he can extend his career in hopes of winning another championship and lead a healthy lifestyle long after he is done pitching.

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