Sabathia takes out ad in paper thanking Cleveland fans

CLEVELAND -- CC Sabathia is winning games in Milwaukee and hearts in Cleveland.

The left-hander, traded from the Indians to the Brewers for four prospects on July 7, took out a large ad Wednesday in the sports section of Cleveland's daily newspaper, The Plain Dealer -- a $12,870 thank you to the community, the team and its fans.

"Thank you for 10 great years ... You've touched our lives with your kindness, love and generosity. We are forever grateful! It's been a privilege and an honor!" read the ad, signed by CC, his wife Amber and the Sabathia family.

"Wow, that just blows me away," Indians right-hander Paul Byrd said. "What a cool thing to do by a really great guy."

It was a touch completely unexpected by Indians fans, who have become embittered through the years at seeing star players such as Albert Belle, Manny Ramirez and Jim Thome spurn the city for the riches of free agency elsewhere.

"I'm sorry he's gone and this is just one reason why," said John Stevens, a fan attending the Indians' game against the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field on Wednesday night. "He said his goal was to bring a World Series championship to Cleveland. I hope he comes back to the Indians and does it. I haven't given up hope."

Sabathia is eligible for free agency after this season. Indians general manager Mark Shapiro wanted to sign the 2007 AL Cy Young winner to a contract extension, but when the team played its way out of contention in late June, he decided to get prospects in return for his ace.

"That ad shows how much CC cares very deeply about his time here," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "He's more than a great baseball player. He's a very thoughtful guy and this truly was his way of saying thank you."