UPDATE: Jayson Stark of ESPN.com writes that a major source of the friction between the two sides is that the club was attempting to trade Young, but telling him otherwise. Now he wants out of Texas, but the Rangers are reluctant to deal him.
In a word, awkward.
6:22 PM: Confirming what Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports reported yesterday, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels just said in a conference call that Michael Young has requested a trade.
According to Anthony Andro of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Daniels said that Young had a change of heart about accepting his new role with the club and requested a trade about a week ago. At issue is that Young is concerned that he will be pigeon-holed as a designated hitter as he ages.
“He’s had time to think about it,” Daniels said. “Time’s gone on and he’s changed his mind.”
While the Rockies have been mentioned most frequently in connection with Young, Daniels added that no deal is imminent at this time. According to Jon Heyman of SI.com, Young has a limited no-trade clause which includes eight teams where he can be traded without his approval, though the Rockies are reportedly one of them.
The biggest hurdle to a potential deal is Young’s massive contract. The 34-year-old is owed $16 million over each of the next three seasons.
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.