Garrett Richards, not Hisanori Takahashi, will take over for the struggling Joel Pineiro in the Angels’ rotation, according to Keith Law of ESPN.com.
Reports over the weekend suggested the Angels weren’t all that enthused about any of their potential replacements for Pineiro, pondering various call-ups in addition to moving Takahashi from the bullpen to the rotation, but instead they’ll go with the most talented and inexperienced option.
Selected with the 42nd overall pick in the 2009 draft, Richards will be making the jump from Double-A, where the 23-year-old right-hander had a 3.06 ERA and 100/40 K/BB ratio in 141 innings.
He projects as a future mid-rotation starter and has certainly impressed at Double-A, but his strikeout rate of 6.4 per nine innings showed less dominance than the shiny ERA and 12-2 record would suggest and his control has been merely decent.
Richards almost can’t help but be an improvement over Pineiro’s recent performance, but Pineiro had a 3.88 ERA in 37 starts for the Angels prior to imploding within the past few weeks and it’ll be tough for the rookie to match those numbers right away.
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.