Less than 24 hours after the doors opened for spring training 2011, and already Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia has controversy surrounding him.
While we all know that at 6-7 and close to 300 pounds, the closest you can usually get to Carsten Charles Sabathia is to, literally, surround him, the Yankees' pitching ace shocked everyone around him - close by or otherwise - on day one of spring training by taking a page from the Alex Rodriguez playbook and dropping his own "OO" bomb (that's "Opt Out" for those of you scoring at home) at the feet of ever-beleaguered Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman.
It seems that when Sabathia ruminated a little too long over the seven-year, $161 million contract the Yankees offered him after the 2008 season, Cashman, nervous that Sabathia might sign somewhere else, sealed the deal by including a clause that gave the big lefty the option of walking away after the third year. And that means that, unless something is worked out before the end of the season, CC has the right to close out 2011 and become a free agent again.
Asked by reporters about whether that may actually happen, Sabathia said simply, "I have no idea. Anything's possible."
Of course, speaking of options and exercising, perhaps the equally shocking aspect of the "new" CC Sabathia is the fact that he showed up for spring training having shed some 25 pounds over the winter. He did this, he explained, by exercising options on his nutritional mechanics following surgery on his right knee last October - and that included abandoning what he and Yankee fans can only hope has not been the psychological key to his success as a major league pitcher all these years.
CC, you see, has stopped eating CC' s - namely, his beloved Cap'n Crunch cereal. And when I say eating, I mean eating: not bowlfuls at a time, but entire boxes at a time. He used to eat one almost every day. When you're 6-7 and weigh 300 pounds, you do things like that. Giving up Cap'n Crunch has apparently not been easy for the big guy, either.
Now there may or may not be a correlation between Sabathia giving up a favorite comfort food and losing a few pounds and his showing for spring training not only leaner but meaner. To which all I can say is, do not underestimate the power of the crunch berry. If there's one guy on this team you'd prefer to be in a good mood rather than a bad one, it's Sabathia. If I were the Yankees, I'd tell CC to eat his CC's, or anything else he wants - other than his contract, that is.