Tensions rise again between CC, rival Rays
There were renewed tensions between the Yankees and Rays on Friday night before New York won, 4-3, with a three-run ninth inning capped by Gio Urshela's walk-off single at Yankee Stadium.
In the fifth inning, left-hander CC Sabathia nearly hit Rays designated hitter Austin Meadows, and after getting the final out, Sabathia appeared to yell, "I definitely was trying to hit [him]" as he walked off the field.
At first, Meadows didn’t think Sabathia was trying to hit him. But after a reporter showed Meadows video proof of what Sabathia said, Meadows changed his tune.
“There you go, but he didn’t hit me. All good there.” Meadows said.
Meadows believes Sabathia’s intent was a carryover from last week, when Rays right-hander Yonny Chirinos hit slugger Luke Voit in the left shoulder last Saturday at Tropicana Field following a DJ LeMahieu game-tying homer. Two batters later, Chirinos hit Gary Sanchez as well.
“After seeing [the video], obviously, Sabathia was [trying to hit me]. Meadows said. “CC has been around a long time. He is a competitor. He obviously wanted to take a shot here, but it is what it is. … It’s part of the game. Luckily, I didn’t get hit, but it is what it is.”
Following last week's game, Sabathia said, "It's the same thing: We hit a home run and they throw up and in. It's stupid."
The two clubs have been rivals for some time, but the most recent incident came near the end of last season, when Sabathia was suspended for the first five regular-season games of 2019 after hitting then-Rays catcher Jesus Sucre in an apparent retaliation for Austin Romine being thrown at earlier in the game.
Because he was ejected from that game last September, Sabathia came up two innings short of triggering a $500,000 bonus clause in his contract. The Yankees paid him the bonus anyway.
Sabathia exited Friday's contest after giving up a run on six hits, walking two and striking out four to lower his season ERA to 2.97. He was asked if he looked toward the dugout after the fifth inning, and he said he didn’t remember, but he might have.
Sabathia was also asked whether Friday night's tensions had carried over from last year's incident, to which his answer was "no."
Chirinos also pitched in Friday's game, coming out of the bullpen following two innings from Tampa Bay's opener, Ryne Stanek. Chirinos pitched 4 2/3 scoreless frames, giving up four hits and striking out two.