Let’s just consider this another one of those posts where the headline says it all. But the guild requires a body as well as a headline so let us just note that Ken Davidoff is reporting that Beltran is feeling great and, unlike last year, is running without a brace on his bum knee.
This is a big year for Beltran, obviously, given that his deal is up after the season. If he can show that he’s healthy and that speed is still a part of his game, he’s going to make himself some money. If he’s gimpy and fragile, he’s going to be cast into that giant vat of once-great, but now merely good bats that make the DH/LF rounds each winter like Manny Ramirez, Johnny Damon and the like.
Based on how he was swinging late last year and these optimistic health reports, I think Beltran is likely to avoid that track and will be be a regular outfielder for a few more years. At least I hope so. I like watching the dude play.
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.