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 milestone by fanning three batters in the second inning.
The Yankees poured out of the dugout to congratulate the 38-year-old Sabathia and the crowd roared after the big left-hander struck out John Ryan Murphy — Murphy was one of Sabathia’s former catchers with the Yankees.
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.
Sabathia joined Randy Johnson and Steve Carlton as the only lefties to reach 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.
Now in his 19th big league season, Sabathia is the first pitcher to hit the 3,000 mark since Atlanta’s John Smoltz in 2008. Sabathia began his career in 2001 with Cleveland and also pitched for Milwaukee before moving to the Yankees in 2009.
Nolan Ryan is the all-time strikeout leader with 5,714.