Mike Scioscia sticks with Bobby Abreu as No. 3 hitter despite .199 average since July 1

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Bobby Abreu struck out four times Wednesday and came into last night hitting just .199 with four homers in 59 games since July 1, but as usual he was in the Angels’ lineup as the No. 3 hitter.

It was the 94th time this season that manager Mike Scioscia has had Abreu in the third spot, which is remarkable for a 37-year-old who’s been awful for going on three months and is hitting just .252 with a .360 slugging percentage overall this season.

Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register asked Scioscia about the decision to stick with Abreu in the lineup and leave him in the middle of the batting order, and the manager replied that “he’s still giving us good at-bats.”

Abreu has long been one of the most patient hitters in the league and his .397 career on-base percentage ranks 10th among active players, but along with the .199 batting average since July 1 he’s also gotten on base at a putrid .281 clip.

If the Angels end up missing the playoffs by a couple games–and right now it looks like they will–the manager’s faith in Abreu will be one of the reasons. And he’ll be back next season after his $9 million option vested.

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.