It looks like the Yankees-Rays rivalry could be heating up.
Tampa Bay pitcher Yonny Chirinos plunked Luke Voit in the shoulder area in the sixth inning of Saturday’s game at Tropicana Field. Two batters later, he also hit Gary Sanchez in the hand with a pitch that appeared to get away from him.
During this sequence, Yankees starter CC Sabathia was seen on YES Network yapping at Chirinos from the dugout, but the Bombers veteran left-hander wasn’t given a chance for payback as he was pulled and replaced by Jonathan Holder in the bottom of the inning.
It’s unclear whether Chirinos was seeking payback for Sabathia’s decision to throw at Tampa Bay’s Jesus Sucre — in retaliatory fashion toward the end of last season. He admitted to doing it intentionally and the lefty was suspended for five games and fined an undisclosed amount for the plunking.
The incident almost cost Sabathia his $500,000 bonus because he finished the season two innings shy of reaching 155 innings, but the Yankees wound up paying him anyway.
Perhaps the Yankees took Sabathia out of the game on Saturday because they didn’t want to risk him seeking payback and risking another suspension. He had thrown just 76 pitches up to that point.
Whatever the case may be, there is a chance that this won’t be the end of the situation.