NEW YORK -- CC Sabathia experienced the excitement of the First-Year Player Draft firsthand in 1998, when the left-hander's talents were tapped by the Cleveland Indians as a first-round selection out of high school.
Having made good on his promise as an elite pitching prospect, Sabathia will now have an opportunity to take in the Draft from a different angle. The ace will be a Yankees representative at the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, to begin on June 4.
"I just thought it'd be cool to do," Sabathia said. "It's something that I think is pretty cool that they televise it now, and it'll be fun to be a part of it."
Commissioner Allan H. "Bud" Selig will announce all of the first-round selections, and Sabathia will be present at the club's table to assist with calling in the selections.
The Yankees will make the 30th overall selection in this year's Draft and do not have a pick in the Compensation Round. Their next selections will come in the second round, when they will make the 84th and 89th overall picks.
The annual First-Year Player Draft takes place this year from June 4-6, beginning with the first round and Comp Round A on Monday, June 4, at 7 p.m. ET. The first night of the event will be broadcast live on MLB Network and streamed live on MLB.com. Rounds 2-40 will also be streamed live on MLB.com on June 5-6.
MLB.com's coverage, sponsored by CenturyLink, will include Draft Central, the Top 100 Draft Prospects list, Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of every Draft-eligible player, and Draft Caster. You can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft on Twitter. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
Former Major League catcher Tim McIntosh, who appeared in three games for the 1996 Yankees, will also serve as a club representative for the Draft.
Sabathia remembers his Draft day as being "nerve-wracking." Not wanting to wait in his house all day for a call, Sabathia was in a third-period art class at Vallejo (Calif.) High School when the loudspeaker system crackled with the announcement that he had been selected by the Indians.
"I just treated it like a normal day," Sabathia said. "My mom, [Margie], was at the school and they announced it. I went down to the principal's office, and my Mom took me back home. We had a huge party, a huge barbecue that day. It was almost like the Fourth of July, but it was in the middle of the week. It was weird, but it was a lot of fun."
Sabathia said that he was somewhat surprised to have been taken by the Indians, even though they had asked him to work out for them. Sabathia thought the Reds, Pirates and Giants were also possibilities.
"I really didn't know," Sabathia said. "I had no idea. San Francisco had the pick right before Cleveland. There were a couple of teams that I thought I had a chance to go to. San Francisco would have been cool at the time, but it definitely worked out that I got drafted by Cleveland."
Sabathia began his climb to the big leagues quickly, signing almost immediately after the Draft. He had completed his climb to The Show by 2001, when he was 17-5 in 33 starts for Cleveland.
"I just wanted to play," Sabathia said. "I knew I was going [to sign] the whole time. I just had it in my mind that if I could get there and improve a lot, I could probably get to the big leagues quick."
Now in his fourth year with the Yankees, Sabathia entered the 2012 campaign with a 176-96 career record in 355 starts, marking the most wins by any Major League pitcher over that stretch.
The left-hander said that the most important advice he can offer any members of this year's Draft class is simply to be patient.
"I would tell them just to work hard, and hopefully everything works out," Sabathia said.