CC Sabathia said he "flipped out" at hecklers outside a Toronto nightclub early Saturday morning but still came away feeling fortunate.
"I think I was definitely lucky the other night that I had friends to push me in the cab, that cared enough to get me out of that situation," Sabathia said before the Yankees' Monday night game at home against the Twins.
The lefthander's reaction to the heckling, which he characterized as "a little bit" personal in nature, was caught on a camera phone and was released Monday by TMZ. Sabathia said the incident, which didn't result in police activity of any kind, occurred entirely outside the club and lasted "literally 25 seconds."
"Bad decision on my part," said Sabathia, whose scheduled start Monday was bumped to Tuesday but only because of an unrelated decision to give every rotation member some extra rest. "Probably should have just kept quiet and gotten in the cab. I'm just glad I ended up getting in the cab before everything that went down."
What went down, according to the video, was what appeared to be a full-blown street fight breaking out moments after Sabathia was shoved in the cab by a cousin and a small group of friends.
Other than saying the heckling entailed "nothing racial," Sabathia said he did not recall what was said. The 6-7 Sabathia, of course, is easy to spot in public and reaction from fans, some of it negative, isn't unusual.
"That happens a lot actually so that's why I said I could have easily just brushed it off, gotten in the cab and had a good night," he said.
Joe Girardi declined to comment on the incident before Monday's game and also declined to comment on whether Sabathia would face any discipline from the team, though that would seem unlikely, at least based on what the video showed.
Players are not required to live as hermits on the road. There is no iron-clad curfew on the road and there are no bed checks.
"You don't hide, I go out all the time, I go to dinner, I do different things," Sabathia said. "It was a bad night and they caught me at a bad time and got a bad reaction."
There was some confusion, not immediately cleared up, exactly when Girardi found out about the incident. Sabathia said video of it popped up on Twitter by Saturday night and that he told Girardi on Sunday morning. Girardi said he didn't find out about it until Monday afternoon.
"When you're out in public, everything's fair game," Girardi said, reiterating a message relayed to players from the time they report for spring training in February. "So whatever you do has a chance to be posted on the Internet. So I think your behavior, you have to be more careful today than you've ever had to be."