CC Sabathia Replaced on Yankees' ALCS Roster by Ben Heller After Injury

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistOctober 18, 2019

New York Yankees' pitcher CC Sabathia reacts as he waits to be relieved during the eighth inning of Game 4 of baseball's American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros, Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

The New York Yankees announced pitcher CC Sabathia has been removed from the club's 25-man roster ahead of Friday's Game 5 of the 2019 American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros. Sabathia suffered a subluxation of his left shoulder joint in the Yankees' 8-3 Game 4 loss on Thursday.

Relief pitcher Ben Heller has replaced Sabathia on the roster for the remainder of the series.

The roster move will end the career of the 39-year-old California native.

Sabathia announced in February the 2019 MLB season would be his last, and removing a player from the ALCS roster because of injury makes them ineligible for the World Series roster. So the left-hander can't return this year even if he makes a quick recovery and the Yanks complete a comeback.

The Astros' Game 4 victory gave them a 3-1 series lead with three straight wins since the Yankees' triumph in the series opener.

Fans at Yankee Stadium gave Sabathia a standing ovation as he left the field Thursday:

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"Every single time he went out there, you had to rip the ball or rip his jersey off to get that man off the mound," outfielder Aaron Judge told reporters. "He got everything out of that arm; that's a warrior right there. That's why he's been a leader of this team for so many years, and that's why he has so much respect around the game, and it was tough to see; he left it all out there."

Heller has provided quality innings in limited opportunities for New York since 2016. He's compiled a 2.49 ERA and 1.38 WHIP with 24 strikeouts in 25.1 innings across 25 appearances.

He'll only receive a chance to pitch in the postseason in low-leverage situations. That's unlikely with the Yankees facing three straight must-win games if they're going to reach the World Series.

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