NEW YORK -- CC Sabathia took issue with what he called a "weak" Red Sox attempt to bunt on him in the first inning of the Yankees' 6-2 victory on Thursday at Yankee Stadium, the second consecutive matchup in which Boston has attempted to take advantage of the hurler's troubled right knee.
Eduardo Nunez reached base after bunting a 1-1 fastball that Sabathia fielded, but threw wildly for an error. After two walks, Sabathia escaped the inning with a pair of strikeouts and shouted toward the visiting dugout, later saying that his words were intended for the entire team.
"It's just kind of weak to me," Sabathia said. "I guess it is what it is. It just shows what they've got over there."
Sabathia, 37, said that Nunez tapped his chest as though to apologize. But Nunez told a slightly different story.
"I said, 'I'm sorry, but I have to do it,'" Nunez said. "That's my game. We know he has a bad knee. I feel bad, but I have to do it. It's my job, and if I had to bunt four times in a row, I do it. I don't care if he's mad or not. That's what it is. I just have to compete and we have to figure it out."
Nunez said that he was not surprised that his former teammate would be upset, but said that Boston's strategy would not change.
"We don't have any guy who has 30 homers, 100 RBIs," Nunez said. "We play smart, we play the little game and if he has issues with bunting, they have to work on that. That's our game. We don't have power. We have to work, we have to bunt. We have to hustle. That's our game."
On Aug. 19 at Fenway Park, Nunez bunted foul on a 1-1 pitch. Andrew Benintendi then dropped a bunt toward the third-base line that Sabathia fielded, firing a strike to first base before dismissively waving his left hand at the Boston bench.
"I think they just think that I'm a bigger guy and I can't field my position, so [they're] going to try to bunt and get some guys on instead of swinging the bat," Sabathia said. "That was an easy play for me to make, I just didn't make it tonight."
Pitching with a bulky brace to protect a right knee that sent him to the DL after an Aug. 8 start at Toronto, Sabathia hurled six innings of one-run ball and improved to 4-0 with a 1.04 ERA in four starts against Boston this season.
"I'm an old man, you know what I'm saying?" Sabathia said. "They should want to go out and try to kick my butt. I just feel like they tried to take the weak road, I guess. … I've always been like this. I've always been like this my whole life. They're catching it now, I guess, but you can go back and look at games against Minnesota when I was younger. The same thing. It is what it is."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.