Dare to dream, Cleveland:
That brings us to free agents Kevin Millwood and Bruce Chen. The Indians have talked to agent Scott Boras about both starters. It’s hard to imagine Chen, 33, signing a minor-league deal after he went 12-7 with Kansas City last year. Millwood, 36, is coming off the worst season of his career, 4-16 with Baltimore with a 5.10 ERA in 31 starts. In 2005, he went 9-11 with the Indians, leading the AL with a 2.86 ERA. He turned that one year into a four-year, $60 million deal with Texas.
Each of those guys would probably help Cleveland, actually, what with how thin that roster is. But with Paul Hoynes speculating that the Indians spent their entire free agent budget on Austin Kearns — all $1.3 million of it — he thinks that the Tribe could only offer Chen or Millwood minor league deals. Millwood might go for it. Chen probably wouldn’t.
Either way, I swear: I will make it a point to report any and all optimistic news about the Indians this year. Because, brother, do their fans need it.
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.