Via MLB Trade rumors is word that Troy Percival is leaning towards retirement:
RHP Troy Percival hasn’t announced his retirement, but after corresponding with him last week, manager Joe Maddon is under the impression his career is over.
“I think so,” Maddon said . . . Agent Paul Cohen said Sunday that no decision has been made but Percival has been having severe back problems and will see a specialist this week with the possibility of needing a fusion.
I have no idea what “a fusion” really entails, but it doesn’t sound like the sort of thing a 40 year-old pitcher comes back from.
Seeing Percival come back after missing the entire 2006 season was impressive, and the fact that he came back and pitched really really well for the Cardinals and decently enough for the Rays was even more impressive. He was one of the truly underrated closers during his decade with the Angels and will be missed.
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.