Yankees’ Sabathia becomes 17th pitcher with 3,000 strikeouts

PHOENIX (AP) — New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia reached 3,000 career strikeouts Tuesday night, becoming the 17th major leaguer and third left-hander to achieve the milestone.

Sabathia entered the game against Arizona with 2,997 strikeouts and hit the mark by fanning three batters in the second inning.

The Yankees poured out of the dugout to congratulate Sabathia and the Chase Field crowd, full of New York fans, roared after the big left-hander struck out John Ryan Murphy on a down-and-in offspeed pitch. In 2015, Murphy was the Yankees catcher when Sabathia got his 2,500th strikeout.

Sabathia tipped his hat to the crowd and hugged his kids in the front row before heading to the on-deck circle to lead off the next inning. The 38-year-old has already announced this will be his final season.

Sabathia joined Randy Johnson and Steve Carlton as the only lefties to record 3,000 strikeouts.

“We’ve been waiting for this all week,” Sabathia’s wife, Amber, said in an interview with the Yankees’ YES Network after it happened. She added the lofty total was “part of his legacy.”

Amber Sabathia estimated there were 40 family members and friends at the Diamondbacks’ ballpark for the big event.

“Big C! What an accomplishment! One of the best to ever do it,” tweeted former Yankees teammate Phil Hughes.

Now in his 19th big league season, Sabathia was the first pitcher to hit the 3,000 mark since Atlanta’s John Smoltz in 2008.

“Those are magical numbers in our sport and people should take notice when people come up upon those things,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said before the game.

Sabathia began his career in 2001 with Cleveland and also pitched for Milwaukee before moving to the Yankees in 2009, helping them win the World Series that season.

Nolan Ryan is the all-time strikeout leader with 5,714.

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