“It was just the time,” Sabathia said of his decision to leave the Yankees on the eve of the American League Wild Card elimination game against the Houston Astros.
Watch the full exclusive ABC News interview Friday on “Good Morning America," 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. EST.
“Like I said, I know it was a bad time of the season, but I woke up on that Sunday morning in Baltimore and there was no other option for me but to get help,” Sabathia said.
Sabathia was in Baltimore with his teammates for a series against the Orioles. The Yankees were swept in three games by Baltimore, the last game coming just days before Sabathia would announce he was leaving the team for the rest of the season.
The Yankees went on to lose to the Houston Astros 3-0 and were eliminated from the playoffs.
Sabathia, who was interviewed alongside his wife, Amber, said he understands the shocked reaction of Yankee fans, but added that he had to treat his alcoholism like the disease it is.
“I understand where, you know, fans would be upset and people would not understand,” Sabathia said. “If it was my knee or if it was anything else, then people wouldn't have a problem with it.”
“You know, it being alcoholism, it was tough for people to swallow, but it's the same thing,” he added.
Now that Sabathia has completed rehab, the pitcher said he is already looking ahead to next season.
“Just getting back with my teammates, being back in Yankee Stadium, enjoying the fans and, you know, pitching,” Sabathia told Roberts. "That's what I love to do, competing. I'll be back out there 100 percent, ready to go."