Garland has oblique strain, likely destined for disabled list

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Dodgers starter Jon Garland was lifted from his Cactus League start after just 1.2 innings Wednesday due to shooting pains on the left side of his body. The Dodgers sent him for an MRI and don’t have the results yet, but it’s a pretty safe assumption that what he suffered was a strained left oblique muscle. And that’s not good news.

According to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, Garland is now expected to open the 2011 season on the 15-day disabled list. Oblique strains can often take up a month to recover from and Opening Day for the Dodgers is just about three weeks away.

Los Angeles has already lost Vicente Padilla to elbow surgery. He was expected to serve as insurance for a starting rotation that was at one point overly crowded. Now manager Don Mattingly and Co. must turn to shaky internal candidates like John Ely and Tim Redding to fill the temporary gaps.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman not considering demoting struggling Greg Bird

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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.

Chris Archer threw behind Jose Bautista

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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.