The funny thing is that if Boston had offered him an extra $1 million, he’d likely be playing for the Red Sox right now.
Martin, who chose instead to try to resurrect his career with the Yankees last winter, told ESPN New York’s Andrew Marchand, “I hate the Red Sox.”
“Anything to get the Red Sox out would be awesome for me,” he said one day before the teams square off in a three-game series at Yankee Stadium.
Martin couldn’t isolate exactly why he feels as he does.
“I guess it just comes with the territory,” Martin said. “When you wear the pinstripes, you just kind of learn to be that way.”
Maybe. But if Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and CC Sabathia hate the Red Sox, they sure have done a good job of covering it up. Mostly it seems like the best players on both teams have great respect for the best on the other, perhaps with some exceptions pertaining to Alex Rodriguez, Josh Beckett and Joba Chamberlain.
The Red Sox and Yankees were the finalists for Martin’s services last winter after he was let go by the Dodgers. The Red Sox opted to stick with Jarrod Saltalamacchia after Martin took the Yankees’ $2.5 million offer, and it’s worked out quite well for both teams. Red Sox catchers are fourth in the AL with a .743 OPS this year, while Yankees catchers are eighth at .716. Martin himself is hitting .236/.323/.404 in 406 at-bats.
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.