07/14/2003 7:08 PM ET
Sabathia showing his potential
CHICAGO -- C.C. Sabathia didn't have to do anything more to demonstrate his potential.
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
But to realize his promise, he had to work on a few things.
Aware of this, Sabathia began intensifying his exercise program. Though he still casts an immense shadow with his NBA-sized dimensions (6-foot-7, 270 pounds), he no longer feels hampered by his size.
"The conditioning played a big role in it," Sabathia said Monday. "It allowed me to have more stamina deep into the game."
This has resulted in Sabathia's 8-4 record and 3.23 ERA -- as well as his first appearance in the All-Star Game.
Sabathia attributed his improvement to aerobic exercises, such as windsprints. A renewed attitude helped, too.
"I started actually doing the work instead of going in the weight room and playing around," he said.
Sabathia has never played around on the mound, as his 38-20 lifetime record indicates. Opponents, such as All-Star outfielder Dmitri Young of the Detroit Tigers, speak of him in the highest terms.
"Whoo!" Young said at the mere mention of Sabathia's name. "By the time he's 27, he's going to be talked about like Randy Johnson is -- a dominating power lefty."
Sabathia, who turns 23 next Monday, is the Indians' youngest All-Star since right-hander Dennis Eckersley made the 1977 AL squad at age 22. His youthful enthusiasm was evident during Monday's workout at U.S. Cellular Field, though all he did was shag flies during batting practice.
"I was really excited when I got selected, but it's different actually being here," said Sabathia, the fifth pitcher since 1987 to win 30 games in his first two big-league seasons. "I'm having a lot of fun."
Sabathia will share his All-Star experience with a pair of special guests -- his mother, Margie, and his wife, Amber, who he married on June 9.
He's looking forward to resuming the regular season once the All-Star Game is over, and not just because he owns a career second-half record of 17-6.
"We had a good first half, considering all the injuries we had and how young we are," Sabathia said. "We showed we can be a pretty good team in the future."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.