Dice-K tosses five scoreless innings in rehab outing

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Daisuke Matsuzaka kicked off a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday afternoon by allowing two hits over five scoreless innings. He issued one walk while hitting two batters and striking out three. He topped out at 93 mph on the radar gun, according to the Associated Press.

Dice-K was pulled after
throwing 73 pitches, though he was originally expected to throw 80-85 pitches. Despite leaving earlier than intended, Matsuzaka told Tom Layman of WEEI.com (through his interpreter) that he felt healthy and did not leave the outing due to fatigue.

“It was more technical issues,” Matsuzaka said. “I think I was trying to
be a little too fine with those pitches.”

Matsuzaka is expected to make at least two more rehab starts before possibly rejoining the Red Sox rotation later this month.
 

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.