07/16/2003 12:11 AM ET
Sabathia sits, but still has fun
Indians lefty isn't upset about not pitching in ASG
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By Chris Haft / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- C.C. Sabathia received no experience and plenty of thrills in Tuesday night's All-Star Game.
Though Sabathia wasn't among the eight pitchers used by Anaheim manager Mike Scioscia in the American League's 7-6 victory over the National League in the 74th Midsummer Classic, the Cleveland Indians left-hander relished his initial All-Star appearance.
For Sabathia, the novelty of being with baseball's elite and the camaraderie he experienced more than made up for his inactivity.
"It's definitely a great experience for me," Sabathia said. "I've had fun here, and it's fun just to watch the game."
Sabathia felt that enjoyment with literally every step he took at U.S. Cellular Field.
"Just being in the clubhouse with these guys -- you've got A-Rod and all kinds of guys in here. It's ridiculous," Sabathia said. No longer was shagging flies during batting practice a chore, he added: "Standing out there and talking to guys you normally wouldn't get a chance to talk to is a pretty fun deal."
Though Sabathia already had met most of his All-Star teammates as a third-year Major Leaguer, this was different. "You say, 'Hi' or whatever to guys in the tunnels at different stadiums," he said. "But having actual conversations with guys in here has been great."
Among the new friends Sabathia made was fellow lefty Eddie Guardado, the Minnesota Twins' ace reliever.
Said Sabathia, "I've been talking to Eddie a lot. We play the Twins a lot, and this is the first time we've ever said anything to each other. It turns out he's a great guy. We've been hanging out pretty much."
Sabathia, 8-4 with a 3.23 ERA in the regular season, turns 23 next Monday and is Cleveland's youngest All-Star since right-hander Dennis Eckersley made the 1977 AL squad at age 22. It's fair to expect Sabathia to return to the All-Star Game as he continues to mature.
"I'd love to come back," he said. "Hopefully I can put up the numbers to keep coming back."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.