CC enjoys being regular dad at Christmas

Sabathia's family gathers in California for festive traditions

CC enjoys being regular dad at Christmas

CC Sabathia has been a frequent visitor to Yankee Stadium's training facility once again this offseason, as he focuses on coming back healthy following a resurgent campaign that saw him post his lowest ERA since 2012.

Sabathia said his right knee feels strong following arthroscopic surgery in October and there should be no question about his availability when Spring Training begins. For now, though, Sabathia and his family plan to enjoy the holidays.

Helping to continue a tradition that dates to the early days of MLB.com, Sabathia took a few minutes last week to chat about his offseason and to share some holiday memories.

MLB.com: What do you like about this time of year?

Sabathia: I was always a huge Christmas fan, growing up. I have a huge family back in California, and obviously I have a big immediate family now with the four kids. It's a lot of fun to be around and just a cheery time to be around everybody. Everybody is excited.

MLB.com: What have the last few weeks been like for you, just getting the house ready and shopping for gifts?

Sabathia: It's always a lot of fun. You've got to pick a day to get the house ready, we do shopping, we do the lights. Just being like a regular dad, that's always a lot of fun for me.

MLB.com: What kinds of traditions do you have in the Sabathia house?

Sabathia: We have a few. We do a taco night on Christmas Eve. We do an ugly sweater party that we've done now for the last five years. We do a onesie party, so we're pretty festive. We have family come from all over -- New Orleans, North Carolina, all over the place. We kind of converge in California. It's our one time of year that we all get to hang out and have a lot of fun. I really look forward to it.

MLB.com: Do you open gifts Christmas morning or Christmas Eve?

Sabathia: Christmas morning. Always.

MLB.com: You co-authored a book, 'CC Claus,' a few years ago. What was the inspiration behind that?

Sabathia: I just love Christmas and thought it would be a cool thing to do. [Co-author] Ray Negron came up with a cool story with the Yankees and The Boss. I was just excited to be part of it.

MLB.com: Do you have a most memorable Christmas?

Sabathia: They're all pretty special. I just love being around the kids and seeing how excited they get, and enjoying opening up their presents and enjoying the day. [As a kid], I remember one year I got Raiders tickets. That was pretty cool.

MLB.com: Favorite Christmas song?

Sabathia: I don't have a favorite song, but the soundtrack is the Jackson 5 Christmas album. It takes me back to when I was a kid, and we play it all the time here. It's great.

MLB.com: What's your Christmas wish for the year ahead?

Sabathia: That everyone else enjoys the holiday and for everybody to be safe.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.