UPDATE: According to FOX Sports Midwest, Garcia may have talked his way out of being shut down. The Cardinals are going to skip him this week and then reevaluate the situation.
5:15 PM: Jaime Garcia was limited to just 37.2 innings in the minors last season after coming back from Tommy John elbow surgery, so with 163.1 innings already under his belt this season the Cardinals have decided to cap the 23-year-old rookie’s workload.
Garcia has been fantastic, going 13-8 with a 2.70 ERA and 132/64 K/BB ratio in 28 outings after winning the fifth-starter battle during spring training, but he’d never thrown more than 155 innings in a pro season before and with the Cardinals all but out of playoff contention his remaining 3-4 starts probably aren’t worth piling onto the career-high workload any further.
Losing out on a couple more wins may hurt Garcia’s chances of getting Rookie of the Year votes, but he was far from a sure thing to come away with the award in a season full of strong rookie position player performers and instead shuts things down with the sixth-best ERA in the league.
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.