Cuban shortstop free to sign with any team

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According to his agent Bart Hernandez, Cuban shortstop Adeiny
Hechavarria is now able to sign with any team. Jorge Arangure of
ESPN.com tweeted the news last night.

Hechavarria was temporarily blocked as the Office of Foreign Assets Committee verified his age, identity and
residency. Many scouts like the 21-year-old Hechavarria better than Jose Iglesias, who signed a four-year, $8.25 million contract with the Red Sox last
September. The pair played together on the Cuban National Junior Team.

We’re talking about a player who is still very raw, but the Yankees and Cubs are pushing hard to sign him. The Yankees are starting to consider life beyond Derek Jeter while the Cubs are already blessed with top-prospect Starlin Castro and 18-year-old Korean Hak-Ju Lee in their minor league system. But hey, you can never have enough talent.
 

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.