TAMPA, Fla. -- New York Yankees ace CC Sabathia is not concerned a provision in his seven-year contract that gives him the ability to opt out after this season will become a distraction.
Sabathia, who went 21-7 with a 3.18 ERA in 34 starts last year, said Monday he still felt as though the clause wouldn't be used. The left-hander added that it was probably the last time he would address the situation.
"I don't want to talk about that all year," Sabathia said. "I'm here to try and help this team win. I went through it with the free-agency thing. It's not going to distract me at all."
Yankees co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner doesn't think Sabathia will opt out.
"I think he's happy here, and now he really knows what it's like to be a Yankee," Steinbrenner said. "Had another excellent year last year. I think he's here to stay."
Steinbrenner also feels Sabathia won't use the clause to seek an extension or additional money.
"Once you've become a Yankee and you've won as a Yankee, it's a little difficult to go anywhere else, I would assume," Steinbrenner said. "We're going to be in every year ... every single year. You can't say that about any other team, except maybe the Red Sox, but they weren't in it last year. And the Phillies are keeping it going, but how long will that last?
"So, we're the only team you can be assured, as long as we own them, are going to be in it every single year," Steinbrenner added. "We're going to be a major contender to win the championship every year."
Sabathia said he would like to pitch another eight to 10 years. Coming off surgery to repair a minor tear in his right knee and 25 pounds lighter, Sabathia is set to throw off a mound for the first time Tuesday.