Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 2/20/12

In order to assure C.C. Sabathia that he was a part of the Yankees’ long-term plans and their ace of the future, New York added an extra year and another $30 million to his contract. Sabathia is the rock of the Yankees’ staff and they certainly could not afford to lose him. C.C., however, could afford to lose something — weight. He won 19 games and finished tied for third in the A.L. Cy Young voting last season, but Sabathia showed some signs of slowing down in the second half of the year.

The Yankees’ ace gained weight as the 2011 season progressed, and G.M. Brian Cashman would not rule out the possibility that the extra pounds contributed to his faltering performance.

“I can’t tell you it did or didn’t (affect Sabathia),” Cashman said according to ESPNNewYork.com. “I just know we thought it was important enough to have the conversation because obviously in the second half he got bigger after the All-Star break.

“You wonder, is it the excess weight, is it just the season, is it because he had that knee surgery? No one has those answers. The best you can do is try to eliminate possibilities.”

Sabathia, who says he is back down to 290 pounds after losing 10 or 15, was not offended by the conversation. In fact, he acknowledged that it is important for him to do a better job of working on his conditioning.

“I just got to make sure I stay with Dana (Cavalea, the team strength and conditioning coach), do the right things on the road, make sure I eat the right things in the clubhouse,” C.C. said. “So that shouldn’t be hard.”

Sabathia is a power pitcher, so his size is part of what has made him so effective over the years. At age 31, however, he and the Yankees have to keep the weight issue in check to avoid injury. As the years pass, C.C.’s lower body will have a tougher time withstanding the size of his upper body. Unless he makes staying in shape a focal point, he could be at risk of having to fight through a number of nagging injuries.

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