All is not well in White Sox land.
Amid a report last week that the relationship between Kenny Williams and Ozzie Guillen is “beyond repair,” Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that the White Sox GM recently had a “heated exchange” with hitting coach Greg Walker.
Williams told reporters last month that he preferred the swing second baseman Gordon Beckham had when he was first drafted out of the University of Georgia in the first round of the 2008 draft as opposed to the one he has now. Walker took it personally. The two exchanged in the tunnel at U.S. Cellular Field, which led Williams to tell Walker to clean out his locker. The situation was resolved by White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf.
“I’d rather not comment on it,’’ Walker told the Sun-Times on Friday. “What goes on in our clubhouse stays in our clubhouse. It’s been a very frustrating year for a lot of people.’’
It’s tough to blame the hitting coach for the failures of Beckham, Adam Dunn and Alex Rios, but the White Sox enter play Saturday ranked 11th in the league in OPS and 12th in runs scored. None of the White Sox coaches are signed beyond this season and Van Schouwen reports that most of them are confident they will not return.
The White Sox lost 8-1 to the Tigers last night and now 6 1/2 games back in the American League Central.
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.