With two outs in the top of the third inning of Wednesday's game against the Angels, CC Sabathia walked off the mound at Yankee Stadium for possibly the last time.
While questions remain about whether or not Sabathia will be on the Yankees' postseason roster, at the very least this was his final regular season appearance at the stadium that he's called home for the last 11 years.
As Aaron Boone came out to pull the left-hander from the game, Yankees fans gave him a lengthy standing ovation, while his teammates were there to greet him before he reached the dugout steps as he tipped his cap to the fans.
"The amount of respect I have for him, he's such a good competitor," Boone said following the Yankees' 3-2 loss. "(I told him) basically just 'Hey, way to go. I love ya.' Not much else to say, and to see him kind of get the ovation that he did, and get a big out there with the bases loaded so it was a big time in the game too. But it was emotional walking out there."
Sabathia allowed two earned runs on five hits in 2.2 innings on Wednesday, recording four strikeouts to raise his career total to 3,091.
"It was good. It was fun to be able to be out there, especially with a chance to clinch," Sabathia said after the game. "That's all I was really thinking about, just trying to make good pitches. When the team's in the position that it's in, it kind of takes the focus off of you, so it was fun tonight."
And while Sabathia tried to not make the night about him, he admitted that he did become emotional walking off the field, because of how much he'll miss being around his teammates.
"Walking off was cool, seeing my mom, my wife, my kids happy, so that was pretty cool," Sabathia said.
"I was (emotional). When I saw Dellin (Betances), the first person I saw, I got a little emotional. That's my little brother, so I'm going miss being around him and (Luis Severino), (Jordan Montgomery) and these guys. I think that's what I'll miss more is the relationships with these guys. The baseball side, I've done it for a long time, my body's banged up, but it feels good to have these good teammates and hopefully clinch the Al East tonight."
Sabathia has struggled all season long due to lingering knee issues, which have cause him to have multiple stints on the IL. His 4.99 ERA is the highest single-season ERA of his career, outside of the 2014 season in which he pitched just eight games.
He said on Wednesday that he would be willing to change his role and pitch out of the bullpen if that's what the team asked of him moving forward, but hasn't been given any indication of what might happen.
In 11 seasons with the Bombers, the left-hander has pitched to a 134-88 record with a 3.80 ERA. He's struck out 1,698 hitters as a Yankee, while being named an AL All-Star in three straight seasons from 2010-12. He was at the top of the rotation in 2009, when the team captured their most recent World Series title.
Whether it was his final pitching appearance at Yankee Stadium or not, Yankees fans made sure to show their respect to the veteran lefty.