After three weeks in bigs, Wily Mo Pena to get first outfield start

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Wily Mo Pena, he with the remarkable .190/.190/.548 line this year, is getting his first start in left field for the Diamondbacks on Sunday.

Manager Kirk Gibson recently said he had no plans to play Pena in the outfield, but something changed his mind.  Pena had appeared in 16 games since his callup June 21, but all nine of his starts came at DH.  Since interleague play ended a week ago, he’s gone 1-for-4 off the bench, which his lone hit leaving the ballpark.

For the season, Pena is 8-for-42 with five homers, no walks and 18 strikeouts.  Hence, the slugging percentage that’s nearly three times his batting average.

Pena played 25 games in left field for Triple-A Reno this season and committed just one error.  Still, he was always an awkward-at-best outfielder in his youth, and injuries have robbed him of some mobility since his days with the Reds and Red Sox.

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.