ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- For the final time in his illustrious career, CC Sabathia will be going to the All-Star Game.
Major League Baseball announced Friday that Sabathia, the New York Yankees' left-handed pitcher who will retire at the end of this season, will be participating in events associated with next week's game at Cleveland's Progressive Field.
A Cleveland Indians first-round draft pick in 1998, Sabathia spent parts of the first eight seasons of his career pitching at the ballpark before he was traded to Milwaukee late in the 2008 season. The next year, he signed as a free agent with New York, helping lead the Yankees to their most recent World Series.
"Major League Baseball normally doesn't do things like this," Sabathia said. "So to be the guy that they're honoring is good. It feels awesome."
Although he was not voted into the All-Star Game, Sabathia and his family were invited to the game by the commissioner's office to be "recognized for his contributions to the game and his longtime service to the community." He'll be honored before the game Tuesday.
Sabathia first learned about the league's hope to have him at the game through American League team manager and Boston Red Sox skipper Alex Cora. On a phone call a couple of weeks ago, Cora asked Sabathia if he'd like to be at the game. The 38-year-old pitcher said yes.
He still isn't sure what his full role will be at the game, but Sabathia envisions it will entail being the league's primary ambassador of various events during the week.
"I just know I'll be there," Sabathia said. "Maybe, I guess, like Alex said, to be like an honorary coach or something, just to be around. Be there for the Home Run Derby, be there for the game. But just to be around and to have MLB want to recognize my career is a good thing."
Sabathia's current manager and former Indians teammate, Aaron Boone, said he knew something was in the works for a while to get the southpaw back to his first big league city for the Midsummer Classic.
"Very deserving, very fitting," Boone said. "It'll be a lot of fun to watch it from afar."
Added commissioner Rob Manfred in a statement: "We are delighted that CC and his family will join us in Cleveland, where his major league career began. We look forward to celebrating his many accomplishments during our All-Star Game festivities."
Sabathia has made six All-Star Game appearances throughout his career and has won a Cy Young Award. Earlier this season, he surpassed the 3,000-strikeout plateau and earned his 250th career win. Having accomplished both feats could be enough to make him an eventual Hall of Famer.