Tampa Bay Rays reliever Andrew Kittredge fired a pitch over the head of the Yankees’ Austin Romine in the top half of the sixth inning after Sabathia had already hit a batter with a pitch in their game Thursday. So the umpire issued a warning that any more retribution would result in an ejection.
That presented a bit of a dilemma for the 38-year-old Sabathia, who was making his final regular start. He needed to throw 155 innings for the season to activate the $500,000 incentive clause in his contract. All he had to do was last through the seventh inning, seemingly attainable because he had allowed just one hit and thrown just 73 pitches in the game, Sports Illustrated noted.
He plunked Rays catcher Jesus Sucre on the leg anyway and got the boot. “I don’t really make decisions based on money,” Sabathia said afterward, per SNY. “I just felt like it was the right thing to do.”
Here’s the sequence of events, starting with Sabathia hitting the Rays’ Jake Bauers on the hand in the bottom of the fifth.
The veteran pitcher also got in the last word on the field, yelling at the Rays’ dugout as he walked off the mound, “That’s for you, bitches.”
Sabathia and the Yankees could afford the vengeance. The Yanks, who already clinched a wild-card playoff berth, won, 12-1, and Sabathia still earns a base salary of $10 million this season.
He could conceivably pitch in relief during the Yanks’ final series of the season, but that isn’t likely.