Jake Westbrook, who signed a two-year, $16.5 million contract to stay with the Cardinals earlier this week, is currently recovering from surgery on his non-throwing shoulder. Our own Aaron Gleeman first passed along news of the surgery last month.
The procedure, which Westbrook told the Associated Press was neither major nor minor, but something “in between,” will prevent him from swinging a bat until early on in spring training.
“It only hurt to swing so I wasn’t too worried about it,” Westbrook said. “I should be good to go when the season starts, and I don’t think they’re too concerned about my hitting. “I’ll be good to go throwing the ball like any other year, so I’m not really sweating the whole swinging thing.”
The 33-year-old right-hander said he originally hurt the shoulder on a swing and miss against Josh Johnson in his second start with the Cardinals on August 7. Welcome to the National League, pal!
Westbrook managed to post a 3.48 ERA and 55/24 K/BB ratio in 12 starts after coming over from the Indians at the deadline, so the injury obviously didn’t affect his performance on the mound or the Cardinals’ willingness to award him with a new contract.
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.