CC Sabathia has never been called little and at 6'7'' he is a towering force on the mound. Sabathia is big and intimidating when it comes to facing American League hitters. The problem has never been his size, it's been his weight.
Sabathia has admitted that his weight has ballooned upwards towards 315 pounds in past seasons Sabathia has made conditioning a priority this off-season and weighed in at spring training at a svelte, 275 pounds. Sabathia came into camp last year at the same weight and inturn suffered through his toughest season in pinstripes. Some people said he was sluggish and seemed to tire as the season progressed. CC vows that this year will be different and he's ready to prove it.
"I think it was just losing that much weight and trying to play a professional sport. I probably did it the wrong way going into baseball season last year. I was joking that I felt like the Biggest Loser, last year. I lost a lot of weight, but physically I wasn't ready to go out and play. So this year was just all about training and getting ready to play."
CC feels that his commitment to a healthier lifestyle is a process and that this year he is focused more on stamina. Sabathia said that the 275 pounds is the lightest he's been since his days with the Cleveland Indians. Current Texas Ranger first baseman, Prince Fielder went through a similar experience. In 2008 Fielder was with the Milwaukee Brewers and addressed his weight issues by becoming a vegetarian. Coming off a 50 homerun season in 2007, Fielder decided to slim down and the results were not good. Fielder got off to a slow start to the season and had an obvious lack of power. Fans in Milwaukee held up signs pleading for Prince to start eating again, the most infamous being, "Prince eat a Cheeseburger!" He eventually did and finished the season with 34 homers. Sabathia suffered through a similar fate last season, but feels he has learned from his mistakes, "I think I lost a little bit of power last year".
Sabathia is confident that the results of his off-season regimen will make a big difference for this season. So far his new physique is paying early dividends in spring training. Sabathia threw off the mound in Tampa on Friday and said "I felt good." He also admitted that it is early and that he still "has got a long way to go."
"By all the work I've been doing I am encouraged by how I feel. My arm angle feels good. Just my arm needs to catch up with the rest of my body.
As far as his feelings on the upcoming season, Sabathia is making no excuses. "We want to get back to the Playoffs and I think it starts with me," Sabathia said. CC feels that his disappointing season last year will help him turn things around and get the Yanks back to the post season, "I set the tone," Sabathia added on Friday.
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