LOS ANGELES -- C.C. Sabathia couldn't find his helmet, but he had no trouble finding his stroke. Sabathia, itching all season to get into the batter's box, wasted no time making an impact at the plate Saturday afternoon at Dodger Stadium. In his first Interleague at-bat of the season, Sabathia drew a 1-0 fastball from Chan Ho Park and hammered it 440 feet out to right for a solo home run -- the second of his career.
"It felt good," Sabathia said. "It was awesome. I've been talking a lot of garbage in here about my hitting, so it was nice to back it up." Sabathia has the highest batting average (.300) and the most hits (12) and RBIs (seven) among American League pitchers since Interleague Play began in 1997. His teammates, then, weren't surprised that he was able to crank out this mammoth blast. What surprised them was that he did so without taking any warmup swings beforehand. "He couldn't find his helmet," Casey Blake said. "It had fallen in the bat rack." Once he found the helmet and stepped into the box, Sabathia was not shy about swinging for the fences. "I had two singles last year," he said, "so I told everybody that I was going to hit homers today." Sabathia, who previously homered on May 25, 2005, in Cincinnati, was so wound up about the opportunity to hit that he couldn't sleep the night before this start, in which he allowed just a run on five hits in seven innings for a no-decision. He had been counting down the days to this outing for about a month, as he didn't get a start in the Indians' last Interleague road trip to Cincinnati. And he had friends and family to impress, too. Sabathia had about 35 people rooting him on in the crowd, including his 4-year-old son, Carsten Charles III. "Little C told me I can't hit," Sabathia said, "because I can't hit on his video game. I had to show him I can hit." Mission accomplished.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.