CC Sabathia took umbrage with the Rays drilling Luke Voit last week at Tropicana Field, so it was no surprise the fired-up veteran stuck up for his teammates yet again Friday night.
Sabathia made Tampa designated hitter Austin Meadows jackknife and shuffle his feet on an inside fastball before walking him in the fifth inning. After he retired the next batter, Avisail Garcia, on a popup, Sabathia appeared to yell, “I definitely was trying to hit his a–” as he walked back to the Yankees’ dugout.
One inning later, after whiffing ex-Met Travis d’Arnaud and Brandon Lowe to end the sixth, Sabathia also wheeled and appeared to direct another few expletives at the visiting dugout. He departed the 1-1 game after six, allowing six hits while walking two and striking out four over 84 pitches.
Sabathia had been suspended for the first five games this season for plunking Tampa’s Jesus Sucre in retaliation for Rays pitcher Andrew Kittredge throwing behind Austin Romine’s head on Sept. 29, 2018.
After his ejection in that game, Sabathia turned toward the Rays dugout, pointed and shouted: “That was for you, b—h.” The shortened outing left Sabathia two innings shy of a $500k innings bonus, which the Yankees paid him anyway in the offseason.
Tensions were renewed between the AL East teams Saturday, after Voit was clipped high on his left arm by Yonny Chirinos’ 95-mph fastball, one batter after DJ LeMahieu had homered to open the fifth inning.
“It’s the same thing, hit a homer and they throw up and in,’’ Sabathia said after that game. “It’s stupid.”