One start. Five innings.
That’s how long Kelvim Escobar’s return to the rotation lasted after he
missed 1 1/3 seasons due to shoulder problems. Since the struggled to
bounce back following an encouraging first start Saturday against the
Tigers, the Angels announced that he would be unavailable for the rest
of this week and would transition to the bullpen next week.
“He felt he didn’t have the stamina to go out there and throw the 90 pitches and recover,” manager Mike Scioscia told The Associated Press. “So he’s going to pitch out of the ‘pen for that reason. He feels great up to a certain pitch count.”
Of course, this is nothing new for Escobar, a former Toronto closer
who will be pitching in relief for the first time since 2005. He has
some of the game’s very best stuff, but he’s never been a dominant
force, mostly because injuries have held him back. He’s thrown 200
innings just once during a career that began in 1997. It seemed as
though he really learned how to pitch upon arriving in Anaheim, but
this marks the third time in six seasons with the Angels that he’s
missed a big chunk of time with an arm problem.
In the end, this might actually work out for the Angels. It’s not
like they could really count on Escobar to stay healthy anyway, and now
there’s nothing at all stopping them from going out and getting the
starter they’ve obviously needed since the offseason. If things break
right, then Escobar could be the setup man that Jose Arredondo was
supposed to be this year. He’s probably not going to be available on
back-to-back days anytime soon and odds are that he’ll be good for at
least one more DL stint, but even when his arm seems to be hanging by a
thread, he’s capable of getting tons of swings and misses.
Yankees first baseman Greg Bird gave his team tons of confidence to hand him the everyday job at first base to start the 2017 regular season, batting .451/.556/1.098 with eight home runs in 51 spring at-bats. But he’s followed that up by hitting .107/.254/.214 through the first month of the regular season.
GM Brian Cashman doesn’t have any intent to demote Bird back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. Cashman said, “It’s not even an option for me in my mind right now, at all.”
Bird didn’t start Sunday’s game against the Orioles, a 7-4 loss in 11 innings. Lefty Wade Miley started for the Orioles, prompting manager Joe Girardi to put Chris Carter into the lineup at first base. If Bird isn’t able to figure things out, Carter might have an increased role on the team.
Rays starter Chris Archer threw his first pitch to Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista behind the slugger’s back with one out in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Toronto. Bautista and Archer then had a staredown. Home plate umpire Jim Wolf issued warnings to both teams. Bautista ultimately flied out to right field and he appeared to have a quick word with Archer on his way back to the dugout.
Archer could have been exacting revenge — euphemistically known as “protecting his teammate” — because Jays reliever Joe Biagini hit Rays outfielder Steven Souza in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game. Souza was forced to leave the game and underwent an X-ray, which came back negative. He was held out of Sunday’s lineup. Biagini’s pitch did not appear to be intentional.
The Jays won Sunday’s contest 3-1 with no further incident. The two clubs meet again in Tampa for a three-game series starting on May 5, so we’ll see if Sunday was the last of the bad blood between them.