Per George A. King III of the New York Post, Sabathia said he hasn't been this healthy in a long time: "I feel the best I have in three years. I am excited to get to Tampa with a clear head and a healthy body."
In addition to his problems off the field, he hasn't been productive on it since 2012. The 35-year-old has a 4.81 ERA with 470 hits allowed, 360 strikeouts and 125 walks in 424.1 innings over the last three years.
The usually durable Sabathia hasn't hit the 30-start, 200-inning barrier since 2013 and hasn't had an ERA under 4.70 since 2012. He's spent time on the disabled list each of the last two seasons and had arthroscopic knee surgery in July 2014.
Prior to the Yankees' American League Wild Card Game against Houston on Oct. 6, Sabathia announced (per the New York Daily News) he was checking himself into an alcohol rehab center:
I love baseball and I love my teammates like brothers, and I am also fully aware that I am leaving at a time when we should all be coming together for one last push toward the World Series. It hurts me deeply to do this now, but I owe it to myself and to my family to get myself right. I want to take control of my disease, and I want to be a better man, father and player.
Four months later, he sounds like he's in a much better place physically and mentally than he was the last time anyone saw him in a Yankees uniform. The former AL Cy Young Award winner did what he needed to do for himself and his family, first and foremost.
The Yankees hope Sabathia's work to arrive in that place will help him recover some of the dominance he once had on the mound. They will need him if they hope to make another playoff push with a pitching staff that has a lot of question marks after Masahiro Tanaka at the top.