"I was ready to pitch," Sabathia said, as if there was any doubt.
As it turns out, the Yankees won't need him. They capped a sweep of the Twins on Saturday, meaning Sabathia will be able to start Game 1 of the ALCS on extra rest. It's a rare October luxury for the left-hander, who has consistently made do with little downtime over the past two postseasons.
Though the Yankees have yet to make an official announcement, there's little doubt as to who will take the mound for Game 1 of the ALCS against the Rangers or Rays.
"We'll have to see what happens," Sabathia said. "I'm ready to go whenever they want me to take the ball."
It's also an unfamiliar situation for Sabathia, who is used to pitching almost exclusively on short rest in October. Two years ago, during his brief stint in Milwaukee, Sabathia made his final three regular-season starts and his lone playoff start on three days' rest. He didn't mind.
A year later, Sabathia started both Game 4 of the ALCS and Game 4 of the World Series on three days' rest, single-handedly making it possible for the Yankees to use a three-man playoff rotation. He didn't mind.
Now, Sabathia will enter the postseason's second round with ample rest. He'll remain idle on Sunday and will toss off flat ground Monday, before throwing a routine bullpen session on Tuesday.
"Then get ready for Friday," Sabathia said.
Friday, of course, is Game 1 of the ALCS in either Florida or Texas -- a game still full of uncertainty. The Yankees haven't yet discussed whether Sabathia will anchor a three-man or a four-man rotation, or whether potential fourth starter A.J. Burnett will even make the roster. They'll announce their decisions this week, though likely not before learning the identity of their opponent.
In the interim, the Yankees -- like Sabathia -- will rest. They know what they accomplished here. They know what they need to accomplish next.
And the Yankees know that they won't be able to do it without Sabathia.
"It's good just to get everybody rested and healthy," Sabathia said. "We'll be ready to go on Friday."