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12/21/09 9:41 PM EST

CC spreads holiday cheer in hometown

Yankees lefty plays Secret Santa for foster children

Yankees ace CC Sabathia helped to make it a happier holiday season in his hometown of Vallejo, Calif., on Monday, playing Secret Santa for the children from the Foster A Dream nonprofit organization.

Sabathia's "PitCCh In" Foundation made two stops in the hurler's old stomping grounds, greeting the children from Foster A Dream at a Toyota dealership in Vallejo before presenting each child with a $200 shopping spree at a Sports Authority in Vacaville, Calif.

"Anytime I get a chance to do something here in Vallejo, I try to do what I can," Sabathia said in an interview on the MLB Network. "It's fun being able to get back to Vallejo and hang out with my family and see everybody. I'm just excited to be here."

Sabathia's wife, Amber, helped in the outreach to Foster A Dream, a nonprofit that builds hopes and dreams for foster children, to provide Christmas for children in foster care.

The shopping spree was a holiday gift from the Sabathias and PitCCh In, a national nonprofit dedicated to enriching the lives of inner-city youth and families by working to raise self-esteem through education and athletic activities.

Sabathia said in the television interview that he has been enjoying the afterglow of the Yankees' World Series title. Last week, he appeared with Alex Rodriguez at Yankee Stadium to help accept goods at the Yankees' 16th annual holiday Food Drive while also welcoming new centerfielder Curtis Granderson.

"It's been a lot of fun, being able to reflect on the year," Sabathia said. "The year that we had was a good year. I'm just trying to get ready for next year."

Sabathia tied for the Major League lead with 19 victories in 2009 for the Yankees, his first season under a seven-year, $161 million contract. The lefty had a 3.37 ERA in 34 regular-season starts and was 3-1 in the postseason, including two victories in his MVP American League Championship Series against the Angels.

He said that he started playing catch at the beginning of the month to get his arm loose and will begin lifting weights again in January. Yankees pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., on Feb. 17.

"I'll be ready come February," Sabathia said.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.