Sabathia releases pic to defuse paparazzi

Sabathia releases pic to defuse paparazzi

ATLANTA -- CC Sabathia seems to be garnering increased attention from shutterbugs of late, but the Yankees left-hander said there is nothing incriminating about a photo being circulated that showed him smoking what he said was a cigar from an Atlanta hotel balcony.

Sabathia said that his wife, Amber, was contacted by a paparazzi photographer on Saturday morning, threatening to release the image if certain financial demands were not met. In response, Sabathia posted the image on his own Instagram page, later deleting it after being informed that it had been purchased by a newspaper.

"They emailed Amber this morning, said they had pictures of me doing something I shouldn't be doing," Sabathia said. "I said I wasn't doing anything I wasn't supposed to be doing. That's why I put that picture out."

Sabathia said that he did not smoke anything that would have violated Major League Baseball's drug policy.

Earlier this month, Sabathia expressed regret for engaging hecklers outside a Toronto nightclub, an incident that was captured on video. Sabathia said that this most recent episode did not irk him, though he called it "spooky" to be unwittingly trailed by photographers.

"It's funny. It kind of is what it is. It's this day and age," Sabathia said. "So especially what happened to me in Toronto, I just felt like, 'This is stupid, so I just need to get this over with.' "

The veteran is on the 15-day disabled list with right knee inflammation and is traveling with the team, but said that he is not staying at the team hotel. He tried out a new brace on Saturday while playing catch, saying that his knee "feels pretty good."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.