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Yankees Starting Pitcher Enters Alcohol Rehab As Team Enters MLB Playoffs

"Being a baseball player means that others look up to you," CC Sabathia said. "I want my kids — and other who may have become fans of mine over the years — to know that I am not too big of a man to ask for help."

Posted on October 5, 2015, at 1:24 p.m. ET

Adam Hunger / Getty Images

Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia announced Monday that he will check himself into an alcohol rehabilitation center instead of play with his team in the MLB playoffs.

The Yankees first postseason match is Tuesday's American League Wild Card game against the Houston Astros.

Sabathia, who just completed his seventh season with the Yankees, said he is "fully aware that [he] is 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."

Sabathia made 29 starts for the Yankees in 2015. He posted a 4.73 ERA in the regular season, with an average of 1.422 walks and hits per inning. It was the 35-year-old's 15th season in the majors.

As of Monday, the Yankees have not announced their postseason roster. To reach the World Series, they will have to beat the Astros in a one-game Wild Card game, then face the Kansas City Royals in a division race, then topple one more American League team in the league championship series.

In a statement, Sabathia thanked the Yankees for their "encouragement and understanding" in his decision to enter rehab.

"As difficult as this decision is to share publicly," he said, "I don't want to run and hide. But for now, please respect my family's need for privacy as we work through this challenge together."

"Being an adult means being accountable. Being a baseball player means that others look up to you. I want my kids — and other who may have become fans of mine over the years — to know that I am not too big of a man to ask for help. I want to hold my head up high, have a full heart and be the type of person again that I can be proud of. And that's exactly what I am going to do."

Sabathia said he looks forward to "being out on the field with my team next season playing the game that brings me so much happiness."

During a press conference Monday afternoon, Yankees GM and VP Brian Cashman said he was "surprised" when Sabathia called him Sunday afternoon with the news that he would enter rehab. The team did not ask Sabathia to delay his treatment until after the playoffs, the Yankees executive said.

"I think CC's demonstrated a great deal of courage to try to tackle this problem," Cashman said. "Time and place have no bearing. There's something here that needs to be taken care of and I applaud for stepping up and doing everything necessary to solve this problem for himself."

"There's a lot of people in this world who are in jobs today that are dealing with crises, and for those who are dealing with a similar one — who may know they need help or not — most people [around them] probably don't know," Cashman said. To go to an employer and address a need to get help is tough, Cashman said, and he hopes that "those who are still wrestling with those type of decisions, I hope they look at CC and realize there are other people who are going through this."

"CC is loved," Cashman said.

On Facebook and Instagram, Sabathia posted an abbreviated version of the statement released by the Yankees, this time accompanied by a lighthearted photo:

Here's Sabathia's full statement:

Today I am checking myself into an alcohol rehabilitation center to receive the professional care and assistance needed to treat my disease," Sabathia said in a statement issued by the Yankees.

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.

I want to thank the New York Yankees organization for their encouragement and understanding. Their support gives me great strength and has allowed me to move forward with this decision with a clear mind.

As difficult as this decision is to share publicly, I don't want to run and hide. But for now please respect my family's need for privacy as we work through this challenge together.

Being an adult means being accountable. Being a baseball player means that others look up to you. I want my kids -- and others who may have become fans of mine over the years -- to know that I am not too big of a man to ask for help. I want to hold my head up high, have a full heart and be the type of person again that I can be proud of. And that's exactly what I am going to do.

I am looking forward to being out on the field with my team next season playing the game that brings me so much happiness.

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