NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — CC Sabathia got an early Christmas present from the Yankees; one he thought he had sacrificed in his final regular season start.

New York gave Sabathia his $500,000 performance bonus for 2018, even though the 38-year-old left-hander was ejected from his final start six outs shy of the 155 innings he needed to officially receive the payment.

Sabathia hit Tampa Bay’s Jesus Sucre starting the sixth inning on Sept. 27 with his 55th pitch of the night, retaliation for Andrew Kittredge throwing a pitch behind Austin Romine in the top half.

“We thought it was a very nice gesture by the Yankees,” Sabathia’s agent, Kyle Thousand of Roc Nation Sports, told The Associated Press on Monday. “CC was very appreciative and is really excited to come back next year and, hopefully, win a championship.”

Neither side announced the decision, which became evident when the $500,000 was included in the Yankees’ final luxury tax payroll statement for last season.

“It was something that we did very private and weren’t looking to publicize, and I’ll just leave it at that,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said.

Sabathia hit Jake Bauers on the knuckles of his right hand with an 88-mph fastball with two outs in the fifth inning. Kittredge threw a 93-mph fastball behind Romine’s neck with his initial pitch in the sixth, and plate umpire Vic Carapazza issued a warning to both benches. Sabathia started out of the Yankees dugout and had to be intercepted by manager Aaron Boone.

After New York opened an 11-0 lead, Sabathia hit Sucre the lower left leg with a 93-mph cutter on his first pitch in the bottom half, causing Carapazza to eject the pitcher and Boone.

CC Sabathia throws a pitch in the second inning against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sept. 27, 2018, at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida. (credit: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

“I don’t really make decisions based on money, I guess,” Sabathia said after the game. “I just felt like it was the right thing to do.”

Sabathia was suspended for five games by Joe Torre, chief baseball officer in the commissioner’s office, and Kittredge for three.

Sabathia had a $10 million base salary last year. He re-signed with the Yankees for an $8 million salary and said 2019 will be his final season.

The 2007 AL Cy Young Award winner was 9-7 with a 3.65 ERA in 29 starts last season. At the moment, the Yankees will be counting on the hefty lefty to stay healthy and take the ball as the team’s fifth starter this coming spring.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)