Nate McLouth has been absolutely terrible since coming off the disabled list, going 1 for 15 with no extra base hits. On the year he’s hitting .178/.279/.265. If there’s a worse regular for a playoff contender I haven’t seen him. Today the Braves said “enough” and optioned him to Triple-A Gwinnett.
The Braves don’t have a lot of outfield options. Gregor Blanco will likely get some time in center when he’s called up (which can’t be for another four days because he was optioned). Brent Clevlen was activated today but, c’mon, it’s Brent Clevlen. There is some talk that Jason Heyward could play center, but it seems like a big risk to take with such an important part of the team. Atlanta has to make a move to shore up the outfield.
Probably worth noting at this point that lots of Pirates fans and many Pirates players got all angry last summer when McLouth was traded. I understand the general frustration with that team constantly turning over its roster, but in this specific instance, no great loss.
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.