Sabathia would not be eligible to return should the Yankees get to the World Series, so the 39-year-old left-hander has made his final appearance in pinstripes.
Sabathia’s knee buckled and his shoulder seemed to give out as he tried to get out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth inning of the Houston Astros‘ 8-3 win in Game 4 of the ALCS Thursday night. He walked off the mound toward second, spoke with head athletic trainer Steve Donahue and tried a warm-up toss, hoping somehow to push through, but he had to leave.
The Yankees said Sabathia suffered a subluxation — or partial dislocation — of his left shoulder joint.
Sabathia, who along with outfielder Brett Gardner is one of the two remaining members of the 2009 World Series championship team, limped off the field with tears in his eyes. He had announced that he was retiring after the season.
“It’s tough man, he’s a great person, a great player,” outfielder Aaron Hicks said. “He’s gonna be a Hall of Famer. To see a guy like that go out like that is, is not the way you want to see it. He means a lot to this team, a lot to his organization, and for him to go out like that, it’s not something you want.”
Heller had a 1.23 ERA and nine strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings for the Yankees this season after returning from Tommy John surgery.
A six-time All-Star and the 2007 AL Cy Young Award winner with Cleveland, Sabathia finished with a 251-161 regular-season record with 3,093 strikeouts. He had made four trips to the injured list this year caused by his balky right knee.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.