TAMPA — CC Sabathia is getting started on a post-baseball career before he is done playing.
Sabathia plans to retire following this season, his 19th in the big leagues and 11th with the Yankees. He has signed on with ESPN to do 15 appearances so far on a variety of shows — including “SportsCenter,” “Get Up,” “First Take,” “Golic and Wingo” and occasionally “Baseball Tonight.”
It isn’t every day that an active player moves into another field of work, but Sabathia has been doing the podcast “Uninterrupted” with Ryan Ruocco for two years during the season.
“On the days I am not pitching I am up early, so why not be in the studio doing what I like doing, talking about sports?’’ Sabathia said of getting to the Manhattan studio.
Because he is under contract with the Yankees, Sabathia was asked if he needed the club’s blessing for the second job.
“I never asked,’’ he said.
One thing that appeals to Sabathia, a big fan of other sports, is that he won’t be limited to discussing baseball.
“I wanted to make sure I am not talking about [just] baseball,’’ Sabathia said. “I watch some of the other sports and I am a fan of the other sports, [so] I think it should be fun.’’
Sabathia, who had right knee surgery after last season and, in December, a stent inserted into a heart artery that was blocked, is slated for a bullpen session Wednesday then another in the next couple of days.
“Then we go from there, just building up the pitches in the bullpen enough to be able to face hitters. Once I face hitters in [batting practice] or a sim[ulated] game, it will go pretty quick from there,’’ said Sabathia, who didn’t have an exact date for facing hitters, but mentioned “in the next couple of weeks.’’
Sabathia said “everything is feeling good’’ and added he believes he has enough time to be ready when his season-opening five-game suspension — for throwing at Tampa Bay’s Jesus Sucre last September — ends.
Whenever Sabathia’s season begins, he will be four wins shy of 250 and four strikeouts away from 3,000 for his career. Every pitcher who has 250 wins and 3,000 whiffs — with the exception of Roger Clemens, who remains on the ballot — has made it to the Hall of Fame.