Sabathia wins Warren Spahn award, says he welcomes testing

GUTHRIE, Okla. -- C.C. Sabathia would welcome expanded drug
testing in baseball.

"Bring it on," the Cleveland Indians ace said. "They can test
me whenever. I have no problem with that."

The AL Cy Young Award winner was in Oklahoma on Wednesday to
receive the 2007 Warren Spahn Award, presented annually to
baseball's best left-handed pitcher by the Oklahoma Sports Museum.

He said he has nothing to hide and wouldn't object to any
changes in Major League Baseball's testing program, including
offseason drug tests, blood testing for human growth hormone or
freezing urine or blood samples for testing in the future.

In last month's Mitchell report on doping in baseball, former
Senate majority leader George Mitchell recommended the sport adopt
a more independent administrator and more frequent testing.

"People have this big perception about how steroids are running
crazy through the clubhouse, but it's nothing like that," Sabathia
said. "You don't hear or know anything" about who might be using

The 6-foot-7, 290-pound left-hander said he hasn't paid close
attention to the fallout from the Mitchell Report.

"I really have no interest," the Bay Area native told The
Associated Press. "What I do in the wintertime is watch the
[Oakland] Raiders and watch the [Golden State] Warriors and play
with my kids."

Sabathia went 19-9 last season for the Indians, who reached the
AL championship series before losing to the Boston Red Sox in seven

He posted career bests in wins, ERA (3.21) and strikeouts (209)
and led the major leagues in innings pitched with 241, becoming the
first Indians pitcher to do so since Bob Feller in 1947. Sabathia
also earned his 100th career win.

He joined Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry (1972) as the only
Cleveland pitchers to win the Cy Young Award.

Past winners of the Spahn Award, named for the late Oklahoma
resident whose 363 wins are the most of any lefty in big league
history -- include Randy Johnson (1999-2002), Andy Pettitte (2003),
Johan Santana (2004, 2006) and Dontrelle Willis (2005).

Sabathia said he considers Santana the best southpaw in
baseball. The New York Mets reached a tentative agreement Tuesday
to acquire Santana from Minnesota for four prospects and are trying
to negotiate a contract extension with the two-time Cy Young Award

"I think I'm not far behind, but I don't think you'll ever get
me to say that I'm the best lefty in baseball," Sabathia said.

Even though he picked up an award for lefties, Sabathia signed
autographs Wednesday with his right hand. He said he does
everything but pitch with his right hand, and credits his father
for turning him into a left-handed hurler.

"I went and played T-ball my first year when I was 4 and I
wasn't very good," he said. "My dad just worked with me, worked
with me, worked with me. One day ... I just remember him coming
home and saying, 'Here, just try this.' I remember going out in the
yard, and he was amazed, the action that I had on my arm, so I just
stuck with it."

Sabathia said he's excited about the arrival of spring training
-- Cleveland's pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to
Winter Haven, Fla., on Feb. 14 -- and hopes that he can reach an
agreement with the Indians on a contract extension. He will be
eligible for free agency following the 2008 season.

Cleveland general manager Mark Shapiro has said he would prefer
having talks with Sabathia wrapped up by the start of camp, but the
Indians would be willing to extend negotiations with Sabathia as
long as necessary.

Sabathia said the timetable for negotiations isn't so important
to him, but he'd like to stay in Cleveland.

"I think it's progressing. At this point, I really have nothing
to do with it," he said of the negotiations. "I'm letting my
agent and the Indians front office take care of that. I'm sure at
some point I will be involved, but right now, I'm going to let them
try to hammer out a deal.

"Hopefully, we can get something done. I've been with that
organization since I was 17 years old and I really don't know
anything else."