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Yankees' CC Sabathia says he wants to play next season | Updated: 2018-10-09 06:15:11

NEW YORK -- Yankees veteran starting pitcher CC Sabathia, who has flirted off and on this season with thoughts about potentially retiring this coming offseason, said conclusively Monday that he doesn't want his career to end.

"I definitely want to play next year," Sabathia said.

Doing so might mean donning a different uniform, though. As he spoke to reporters a day before he makes his Game 4 American League Division Series start, Sabathia indicated he was aware of that.

"I'll play anywhere," the left-hander said. "I still want to play. I still want to pitch. I definitely can help and still get guys out.

"So whoever needs me."

Sabathia, who will turn 39 next July, will be a free agent for the second straight offseason. Late last December, just before New Year's Eve, he signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the Yankees. JHe returned to the Bronx for his 10th season.

A 1998 first-round pick, Sabathia spent parts of eight previous seasons with Cleveland and Milwaukee.

Knee problems have nagged Sabathia for much of the past four seasons, as he deals with an arthritic condition in his drive leg. He's spent much of that time wearing a leg brace around his left knee for stability. He also undergoes occasional injections to lubricate the knee.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone, a former teammate of Sabathia's, said he believes the pitcher could still pitch for years to come, as long as the knee can make it that long.

"There's no question, to me, that he can pitch for more than just next year if he wants to, as long as his knee holds up," Boone said. "As long as his knee's healthy, he can be a successful pitcher for actually many more years if he really wants to. He's still that good and capable. It just comes down to the health of the knee for me."

Sabathia was 9-7 with a 3.65 ERA and 140 strikeouts in 153 innings pitched this regular season. In his last start, Sept. 27 at Tampa Bay, Sabathia had a 55-pitch one-hitter going in the sixth inning when he was ejected for hitting a batter after he and other Yankees and Rays pitchers had been warned. He was stepping up for a teammate whose head had been thrown at the previous half inning.

If Sabathia had pitched through the seventh inning of that game, he would have made $500,000 as part of an innings-pitched performance bonus.

Still getting credited with a win after that recent outing, Sabathia has notched 246 career wins. With it, he ranks 50th on baseball's all-time wins list. Accomplishments like that have caused him to start reflecting upon his legacy in the game.

"I haven't really given it much, much thought, but the last couple months I've thought about the Hall of Fame or my career and things like that, as I get to the end," Sabathia said. "So I don't really have a statement about it, I guess, but I have thought about it."

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