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Monday, December 17, 2012
CC Sabathia on rehab, Yankees, sports

By Zach McCann

CC Sabathia
CC Sabathia's offseason has been full of rehab, charity, and suffering with the Lakers and Raiders.
While the New York Yankees fragrance sounds like one of the more bizarre forms of cross-promotion in sports, it actually smells like the Yankees’ locker room -- and not in the sour way that may give you flashbacks of your high school gym class.

“When I first brought this to CC [Sabathia], he said the smell is in the locker room,” said Sabathia's wife, Amber, who was recently named a brand ambassador for the HER Yankees fragrance. “He could smell it because all of the guys have it in their lockers.”

CC and Amber recently promoted the product at an event in New York, with Amber headlining and CC there in support.

ESPN Playbook caught up with CC for a few minutes at the event to talk about his recovery from surgery, the Yankees’ always interesting offseason and his favorite sports teams.

Playbook: You and your wife are pretty busy this offseason with your charity work.

Sabathia: We have a bunch of stuff going on -- this is our busiest season. We have the Christmas caravan coming up, where we have four different events out in California and help out in different ways. We’re having a baby shower for some women who can’t afford it, taking some teen kids on a shopping spree to Niketown -- that’s my favorite, being able to hang out with the kids and shop -- we’re going to renovate a senior citizens building, giving them a theater and a pool table and all that stuff. It should be a lot of fun.

Playbook: Besides your charity work, how is your offseason going and how are you recovering from elbow surgery?

Sabathia: Rehab is going good. I’m eight weeks out, and I’m feeling good. In my elbow, I’m starting to get my mobility back, so I should be ready to go.

Playbook: You’ve never really been hurt until this year. Is it weird being sidelined for the first time in your early 30s?

Sabathia: It really is. I had two stints on the DL this year, which was something new for me, too. I’m just learning different rehab techniques and different exercises to try to keep myself healthy during the season.

Playbook: Your team made a pretty big move last week in signing Kevin Youkilis. What’d you think when you heard the news?

Sabathia: I’m excited about it. How could you not be? He’s a great player. I’ve played against him a bunch on the other side, so it’ll be fun to get him here in New York and having him play for us.

Playbook: Is it weird seeing such a Red Sox staple wearing the pinstripes?

Sabathia: I don’t think so. Johnny [Damon] did the same thing, and there have been a bunch of guys now. He played in 2004 and then helped us win in 2009. It should be fun for him to join us.

Playbook: What was your reaction when you saw the tabloid photos of Derek Jeter supposedly gaining a bunch of weight?

Sabathia: It was funny. Jeter and I are pretty close, and I saw the picture, and I just thought it was funny. It’s part of playing here. When you come to New York, you’re signing up for that with the media and all the coverage that we get. You have to take the good with the bad.

Playbook: So you didn’t text him to lay off the complex carbs?

Sabathia: Oh, no. I know him and I know he’s probably irritated by it, so I’m going to leave him alone on that.

Playbook: You’re writing with your right hand and you’re right-handed. How does someone right-handed become one of the best left-handed pitchers in the world?

Sabathia: I actually never pitched with my right, but I played a season of tee-ball right-handed. My dad came home one day and was like, "My son can’t be that terrible." So he gave me a glove and I started throwing left-handed. But I do everything else right-handed; it’s crazy.

Playbook: Two quick questions, since I know you’re a big sports fan. Can your Lakers turn their season around, and what do you think they need to do to improve?

Sabathia: Oh, man, I don’t know. So much. We need a lot of guys. I hope, somehow, they can try to get Lamar Odom back. Since losing him, the team has been in shambles. Kobe’s obviously been playing great and Dwight Howard will get his feet under him, and we’ve got [Steve] Nash coming back. But it’s going to be tough. It’s a tough division for us.

Playbook: Same question for your Raiders.

Sabathia: Scrap them. I’m such a die-hard Raider fan, I get so upset. That’s why I understand when Yankees fans get mad, because I get just as mad with my Raiders. I don’t know where to start. [Darren] McFadden is one of the best players in the league, and they have a pretty good defense. But we’ve just gotta start over. It’s been a long time since we were good.