The likely final pitch of CC Sabathia‘s outstanding major league career was a sad one: he threw a practice pitch to catcher Gary Sánchez before walking off the field with the Yankees team trainer. The injury appeared to be located on his left arm, perhaps his shoulder.
After Adam Ottavino allowed both runners he faced to reach base on an Alex Bregman double and a DJ LeMahieu fielding error on a Yuli Gurriel grounder, manager Aaron Boone called on Sabathia to put out the fire. Yordan Álvarez hit a grounder to Gleyber Torres at second base which was also mishandled, allowing a run to score and everyone else to advance safely. Sabathia was able to get Carlos Correa to line out to right field, but followed up by hitting Robinson Chirinos on the elbow with a pitch to load the bases. Sabathia got pinch-hitter Aledmys Diaz to fly out for the second out of the inning to bring up George Springer.
After Sabathia’s third pitch of the at-bat against Springer, the lefty appeared to be in some discomfort which prompted the trainer to come out for a visit. Sabathia threw one practice pitch to Sánchez before exiting to a standing ovation from the crowd at Yankee Stadium. Jonathan Loaisiga entered and struck out Springer to end the inning.
In February, Sabathia announced he would retire after the 2019 season. This is not the ending to his career he or anyone else envisioned, but a plaque in Cooperstown, New York nevertheless awaits him.