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CC Sabathia expects to continue to be Yankees' ace

AP - Sports
CC Sabathia expects to continue to be Yankees' ace

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FILE - This is a 2013 file photo showing CC Sabathia of the New York Yankees baseball team. Sabathia will not pitch again for the Yankees this season because of a strained left hamstring. The Yankees said Monday, Sept. 23, 2013, that Sabathia was hurt Friday in his last start, when they beat the San Francisco Giants. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

NEW YORK (AP) -- CC Sabathia vows he's going to be the New York Yankees' ace next year.

''I know a lot of people have written me off,'' Sabathia said Tuesday. ''I'll still be here and I'll still be accountable and I'll still be the guy that signed up in 2009.''

It's been an extremely frustrating season for the 2007 AL Cy Young Award winner, one that ended a week early when he sustained a Grade 2 left hamstring strain in a start against the San Francisco Giants on Friday.

Thing is, that outing was also his most encouraging.

''Pitching against San Francisco I felt more back to myself morseo than any other start,'' Sabathia said Tuesday. ''Just going out there and being a bully. That's something that I felt like I was before and kind of lost that this year.''

Sabathia pitched into the eighth that night, despite hurting his leg in the second. He allowed only one run and seven hits. The Yankees revealed his injury Monday, an off day.

Phil Hughes will take Sabathia's spot in the rotation on Wednesday against the Tampa Bay Rays as the Yankees desperately try to cling to a shot at an AL wild card. New York entered Tuesday night's game four games back of Cleveland for the second spot.

Coming back from offseason elbow surgery, Sabathia went 14-13 with a 4.78 ERA, the highest of his 13-year career. In a season marred by injuries to many of the team's stars, the Yankees were counting on Sabathia to be a steady presence that helped lead New York to another postseason trip. Instead, the velocity on his fastball was down, he gave up 28 homers and he was prone to allowing big innings.

Sabathia had the most losses of his career and his fewest wins since signing a $161 million, seven-year deal before the 2009 season - amended two years later to add at least $30 million - with New York.

''The interesting thing is he got hurt on Friday and I thought that might've been the most consistent his fastball has been the whole year,'' manager Joe Girardi said. ''I think he ended on a good note and you'll see a different CC next year. ... I still look at him as an ace.''

The big left-hander conceded that at 33 years old - and having logged over 2,700 innings - he's not going to be the same power pitcher he once was. It took getting over his stubbornness to acknowledge that.

With help from pitching coach Larry Rothschild, he began reinventing himself - and he's happy with the results.

''There were a couple of things in my delivery we were working on,'' Sabathia said. ''In the past week or two or three weeks we started in the bullpen and looking at video and started getting on the right track. It's very encouraging going forward knowing what I need to do to be right.''

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