Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy returns from DL

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The Brewers on Monday reinstated catcher Jonathan Lucroy from the disabled list and designated outfielder Jeremy Reed for assignment.

Lucroy took over as the Brewers’ starting catcher after Gregg Zaun got hurt last season and hit .253/.300/.329 with four homers in 277 at-bats.   He missed the entire exhibition season and the first week and the half of the regular season with a broken finger sustained in spring drills.

Before Lucroy got hurt, one of the Brewers’ questions this season was whether incumbent George Kottaras or journeyman Wil Nieves would function as his backup.  Even after getting a longer look at both than anticipated, the Brewers still weren’t willing to make that call Monday, dropping outfielder Jeremy Reed instead.   Reed hadn’t started a game this season and was 0-for-7 off the bench.

So, until Corey Hart comes off the disabled list, probably in about a week, the Brewers will go with three catchers.  Kottaras started five games to Nieves’ four while Lucroy was out, if that’s any indication of how the team is leaning.

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.