Cleveland and Pittsburgh are among a number of teams to have asked Colorado about catcher Chris Iannetta, according to FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi.
Iannetta’s name has come up in rumors numerous times over the last couple of years, largely because so many are convinced that the Rockies don’t value his contributions properly. They’ve been guilty of sitting him behind seemingly inferior catchers in Yorvit Torrealba and Miguel Olivo, but they also gave him a three-year, $8.35 million deal prior to 2010 that showed a commitment to him.
Much of the old Iannetta speculation centered on the Red Sox, since not only is Iannetta a Rhode Island native, but his offensive contributions, which come mostly in the form of homers and walks, are supposed to be especially appreciated by the so-called Moneyball teams.
The Red Sox, though, are happy with Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jason Varitek at the moment and aren’t hunting for catching help.
The Pirates have a big need at catcher with both Chris Snyder and Ryan Doumit on the shelf. The Indians have Carlos Santana behind the plate, but they don’t mind using him at first base. If they got Iannetta, they’d probably give him most of the starts behind the plate, with Santana playing first base and serving as a DH against left-handers.
Playing pretty regularly this year, Iannetta is hitting .224/.376/.412 with 10 homers and 36 RBI in 228 at-bats. Brian McCann is the only regular catcher with a better on-base percentage and McCann, Ramon Hernandez, Alex Avila and Miguel Montero are the only starting catchers with superior OPSs.
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.