The New York Yankees lost their American League wild card game to the Houston Astros this week, but at least one key member of the team is focusing his attention elsewhere.
Starting pitcher CC Sabathia has checked himself into rehabilitation for alcohol, according to the team's official website.
"Today I am checking myself into an alcohol rehabilitation center to receive the professional care and assistance needed to treat my disease," Sabathia explained in a statement released by the organization. "I love baseball and 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."
That push, of course, came up short Tuesday with the 3-0 loss to the Astros. Sabathia likely would not have pitched in the game, a contest that ultimately determined whether New York would advance to the first round of the postseason. Had the Yankees prevailed, however, they would almost certainly have turned to Sabathia in due time.
"It hurts me deeply to do this now, but I owe it to myself and to my family to get myself right," Sabathia added. "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."
Sabathia has struggled to replicate his career's earlier success in his last three seasons with New York, missing all but eight games in 2014 due to injury and settling for a modest 4.73 ERA this season. It's unclear whether or how significantly his struggles with alcohol have affected him on the field. Sabathia signed a massive $161 million pact with the organization in 2009.
But even the Yankees understand that some things come before baseball.
"What CC's dealing with is a life issue; it's bigger than the game that we have [tonight]," said general manager Brian Cashman on Tuesday, per the Yankees' official site. "And so because of that, it's vitally important that gets put in the proper perspective and place. He needs to tag out of this situation, which is a lot of pressure, and really step back and get the professional help necessary. He's not alone in this."
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 16.6 million adults in the US had an alcohol use disorder in 2013. Around 1.3 million of those adults received treatment from a specialized program.