NEW YORK -- Red Sox infielder Eduardo Nunez called Carsten Sabathia one of the best teammates he's ever had on Friday afternoon, but he said the lefty should be ready for more bunts in the future if the Yankees don't devise a better strategy to stop him and his teammates."Ask
NEW YORK -- Red Sox infielder Eduardo Nunez called Carsten Sabathia one of the best teammates he's ever had on Friday afternoon, but he said the lefty should be ready for more bunts in the future if the Yankees don't devise a better strategy to stop him and his teammates.
"Ask [third baseman Todd] Frazier to play in," Nunez said. "If he's back, I'll bunt again."
Sabathia expressed displeasure following Thursday night's 6-2 Yankees win over the Red Sox because Nunez bunted in the first inning and reached on a throwing error by the pitcher.
"I mean, we're going to cover it," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Teams have known that CC has had a knee brace for a couple of years and he's had some knee issues. I mean, other teams have tried it. It comes down to executing the bunt. And usually if you're bunting it back to the pitcher, you're usually out."
Nunez and Sabathia were teammates on the Yankees from 2010-13.
"I don't hit 40 homers," said Nunez. "I don't know what he expects me to do. Next time, he'll have to be ready, because I want to keep bunting. He'll have to work on bunting. If he doesn't like it, he'll have to work on it. Do early work."
On Friday, Sabathia provided more thoughts on how much he dislikes the bunt in general.
"It's not that it's out of bounds, I guess," Sabathia said. "That's just me. It doesn't matter who's bunting or who I'm playing. I get [mad] when people bunt, period. You're going to get a reaction out of me. Everybody knows that. And they got the reaction.
"We could be playing a Little League game. My son bunts on me, I'm going to cuss him out. That's just me. So it is what it is. I've always been like that. This is nothing new, and I think a lot of people know that."
Nunez acknowledged that Sabathia's balky knee played into his motivation to bunt.
"So with my speed, if he has knee issues, I have to bunt, I have to be on base to win games," Nunez said. "If he's not healthy, go back to the DL. It's simple: I have to bunt. It's not my problem."
Red Sox manager John Farrell defended Nunez.
"That's part of the skill package of Eduardo. He's got speed, he can put the ball on the ground," Farrell said. "If he feels like that's an opportunity for him to take advantage of a certain game situation, that's what we do. That's what every team does."
The only way Nunez and Sabathia will face each other again this season is if the Red Sox and Yankees meet in the postseason.
"If I face him next time, if I have to bunt four times, I'll do it," Nunez said. "If he's going to hit me with a pitch, I'll take it and steal a base. That's baseball."
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.