Sabel was the first player drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks to appear in a game for the franchise. A 42nd-round pick in the June 1996 free agent draft by the Diamondbacks (who were still two years away from taking the field), the right-hander made his major-league debut on July 9, 1999, when he pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning vs. Oakland. He went unscored upon for his first 7 2/3 big-league innings, spanning four appearances.
Sabel returned to Triple-A Tucson in 2000, splitting his time between the starting rotation and the bullpen. In 2001 he made it back to the Diamondbacks, working in short and middle relief.