New York Yankees LHP CC Sabathia called out Eduardo Nunez and the Boston Red Sox after Thursday's game for trying to bunt on him for the second straight matchup.
Sabathia called the Red Sox "weak" and then challenged the division rivals by saying, "If they've got something to say, we can meet in center field," according to the New York Daily News' John Harper.
With one out in the first inning, Nunez dropped down a bunt, which forced Sabathia off the mound. He rushed his throw, which pulled Greg Bird off first base for an error and allowing Nunez to reach.
"It's just kind of weak to me,'' Sabathia said after the Yankees' 6-2 win. "It shows me what they've got over there."
While Sabathia walked the next two batters, he struck out Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers to end the inning unscathed, but he yelled toward the Red Sox dugout following the inning.
"It just gets you fired up,'' Sabathia said. "Obviously you want to win every time you go out there, but it's more so because of that."
Nunez made an apology to Sabathia, according to ESPN's Scott Lauber, however he said he would "100 percent" try to bunt on Sabathia again the next time they face each other.
"If I have to bunt four times in a row, I'll do it," Nunez said. "I don't care if he's mad or not. That's what it is. I have to compete, and he has to figure it out. Play in. Or field the ball. I don't care."
When Sabathia faced the Red Sox on Aug. 19, Andrew Benintendi tried to reach on a bunt in the first inning, but Sabathia threw him out.
Although Sabathia underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee last October and spent some time on the disabled list earlier this season due to knee pain, he said he thinks it's a sign of disrespect.
"I think they think I'm a bigger guy and I can't field my position," Sabathia said. "I'm an old man, so they should go out and want to kick my butt. I just feel like they tried to take the weak road. ... [The Red Sox are] scared. I mean, 'let's go, let's play. Swing the bat.' "
Red Sox Hall of Famer Jim Rice said Sabathia should try to lose weight and diet better so he could better field his position.
"What is he talking about? Bunting is part of the game," Rice said on NESN. "You try to get on the base any way you can. If you tell him to leave some of that chicken, that donut and that burger weight -- maybe his leg will be OK that he can field that baseball. That's just stupid. ... What he has a right to do is fulfill his contract, lose some weight and go out and pitch."
Sabathia, who is 11-5 and lowered his ERA to 3.71 after Thursday's game, said if the Red Sox have a problem with his comments, he would have no problem responding.
"I don't give a f--- about their reaction,'' Sabathia said. "I don't care what they have to say. I'm out there early every day. If they've got something to say, we can meet in center field."