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Published: 7/8/2008

Indians starting over without Sabathia

ASSOCIATED PRESS

CLEVELAND - CC Sabathia matured from a teenager who didn't know the basics of pitching to an AL Cy Young Award winner with the Cleveland Indians.

The big left-hander helped the Indians get within one game of the World Series last year, but a frustrating, injury-marred season forced the club to deal Sabathia to Milwaukee for prospects yesterday.

The Indians, who have gone from 96 wins in 2007 to last place in the AL Central, gave up hope of a trip back to the postseason and will start over again.

They'll do it without Sabathia, who was 17 when he signed with the team 10 years ago.

"I remember he didn't know how to grip the baseball or stand on the rubber when we first got him," Indians general manager Mark Shapiro said.

Sabathia departs as the first reigning Cy Young winner to be traded since Toronto sent Roger Clemens to the New York Yankees after he won the award in 1998.

"Having been part of watching him develop and grow from a teenager to a man, from an inexperienced minor leaguer to a dominant Cy Young Award winner, and being part of such a special season just last year - a very difficult decision emotionally," Shapiro said.

In exchange, the Indians receive four minor leaguers.

The club that watched Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez and Albert Belle leave in free agency decided it couldn't do the same thing with Sabathia, the first Cleveland pitcher to win the Cy Young Award since Gaylord Perry in 1972.

Sabathia turned down the club's offer for a $72 million, four-year extension during spring training.

Shapiro was realistic about the odds of the Indians signing him if he becomes a free agent after the season.

"I know he'll be open to that, but once a guy gets out in free agency, you recognize the challenges that exist," Shapiro said.

Sabathia, a first-round draft pick in 1998, shot through the Indians' minor league system, joining the team's rotation in 2001. He was the last link to the dominant teams that won six AL Central titles from 1995-2001.

Sabathia complied a 106-71 record over the last decade.

"Good times are coming ahead and I really firmly feel this team has the chance to come right back out next year and contend for the division," Shapiro said.

From here on out, Carsten Charles Sabathia is just "CC" Sabathia - not "C.C."

After announcing they'd made a trade to acquire the reigning AL Cy Young award winner from Cleveland, a member of the Brewers public relations staff advised media members that Sabathia prefers to have his initials written without periods.

It was not immediately known why.

NEW YORK - Home run leaders Chase Utley and Grady Sizemore are among the players who will be in the All-Star home run derby.

The commissioner's office said that major league RBI leader Josh Hamilton and Lance Berkman and Dan Uggla also will be in the July 14 contest at Yankee Stadium.

Utley entered yesterday's game with a major league-leading 24 homers for Philadelphia, and Sizemore topped the AL with 22 for Cleveland.

Hamilton has 19 homers and 84 RBIs for Texas. Berkman has 22 homers for Houston, and Uggla has 23 for Florida.

Three more players will be added later to the event.



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