Sabathia says he understands Lee's decision

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Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia were teammates on the Cleveland Indians. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

CC Sabathi and Cliff Lee are friends from their time as teammates with the Cleveland Indians.

They could have been teammates again with the New York Yankees, had Lee not made the stunning decision to return to the Phillies and take less money.

Sabathia, a father of four, says he fully gets looking at factors like your family's future when making a decision about free agency.

"I'm excited for him," Sabathia said, according to the Associated Press, during a benefit appearance for his PitCCh In Foundation in Concord, Calif. "As part of the Yankee family and organization I'm disappointed. As a family friend, I'm happy he's in the place he wanted to be. You have to do what makes you happy and what's best for your family. It's a long time. Five years is a long time, seven years is a long time."

Sabathia, two years removed from his own free agency decision, said he spoke with Lee while he was going through free agency and after the decision was made. The two plan to go fishing during spring training. The Yankees and Phillies train near each other.

"Just knowing what it's like to go through that, you don't want somebody calling you all the time," Sabathia said. "He knew what the Yankees could offer and what New York would bring and that I loved it over there. We're pretty close. I didn't want to keep bugging him with it. Everybody was like, 'Did you make a pitch?' For what?"

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