By TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer
WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (AP) - C.C. Sabathia is as cool as they come, always has been. Nothing seems to rattle the Cleveland Indians' left-hander.
He figures he'll let everyone else worry about whether he can match his rookie season. Or that his weight is hovering around 300 pounds.
Sabathia is staying typically low-key and relaxed.
"I'm just out there having fun," he said. "I don't change. That's me. I don't know. It's not a big deal where I'm at."
He may not think so, but after a dazzling first year in the majors, Sabathia has become one of baseball's budding superstars. If he's not one already.
Sabathia, who had never pitched above Double-A, wasn't even expected to make Cleveland's roster last season. But then he went 17-5, led major league rookies in wins, starts and strikeouts, and finished second to Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki in AL Rookie of the Year voting.
He was the Indians' most consistent pitcher all season, and then beat the beat the Seattle Mariners in his only playoff start.
Although there was no urgency to sign him to a long-term deal, the Indians decided to anyway. They gave Sabathia a $9.5 million, four-year contract at the start of spring training, a deal that with incentives and options could swell to $20 million.
The agreement meant security -- for Sabathia and the Indians, who may have wound up paying even more if he progresses the way they hope he will.
"He's a special player," assistant general manager Neal Huntington said. "But he's also a special person."
Once the contract was finished, Sabathia said he allowed himself one special purchase.
"A new car," he said proudly. "Mercedes."
But it looks like Sabathia, 21, may have also treated himself to a few steak dinners.
He arrived at training camp weighing over 300, 30 pounds over his listed weight. Big-boned to begin with, the 6-foot-7 Sabathia has a huge lower body and has never had to keep his weight in check.
The Indians, who have had to monitor starter Bartolo Colon's girth in the past, insist they're not concerned about Sabathia's bulging waistline.
"He's a big guy," Huntington said. "I think C is aware of the importance of it. He's going to continue to work at it and make good nutritional choices.
"I think it would be more of a concern if we were five years down the road and it was still an issue. We're still dealing with a 21-year-old young man, who is extremely special. But he's still 21."
All the talk about him being overweight is being overblown, Sabathia said.
"It's just a learning thing for me," he said. "I feel fine. I don't think it will be a problem at all. I'm ready to go."
Sabathia has come so far, so fast with the Indians that on Monday they sent him to the minors -- for five innings.
The club was off, and because they wanted to evaluate Charles Nagy on Tuesday against Kansas City, the Indians had Sabathia pitch for Cleveland's Kinston (A) affiliate on one of the practice fields.
A year ago, Sabathia was the one whose every move was being analyzed. And just two springs ago, the back fields were where he practiced everyday.
"I've pitched against some of those same guys," Sabathia said. "It's still kind of amazing I made it to the big leagues so fast."
The Indians coddled Sabathia as a rookie, closely monitoring his innings and pitch count. This year, they won't baby him as much and can't afford to anyway.
Sabathia isn't just their prized prospect any longer. He's a No. 2 starter who'll be expected to win every time he takes the mound. It's enough to make anyone nervous.
But not Sabathia.
"I don't feel any pressure," he said. "I just want to go out, have fun and keep winning games."