Neshek on track to be ready for spring training

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MLB.com’s Kelly Thesier reports that side-arming setup man Pat Neshek is “a little anxious” but “on track to be ready for the start of spring training” 14 months after undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery.
“I just want to face hitters to see where I’m at and get that in my head,” Neshek said. “I want to face hitters to give me that total confidence back. Right now it feels like I’m killing time waiting for that to happen.”
Prior to going down in May of 2008 he had a 2.91 career ERA with 143 strikeouts and a .188 opponents’ batting average in 121 innings, but after signing Clay Condrey the Twins have six relievers as locks for the Opening Day roster, so even if they go with a 12-man pitching staff that leaves just a single spot for Neshek or one of the losers of the fifth-starter competition.
And that assumes they won’t sign Jarrod Washburn. In other words, healthy or not I’d say there’s a decent chance Neshek will begin the season on the disabled list if only to give the Twins some extra time to sort out the pitching staff. In the meantime, you can get updates about Neshek’s comeback directly from Neshek via his personal website.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman not considering demoting struggling Greg Bird

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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.

Chris Archer threw behind Jose Bautista

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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.