Report: Phillies making “strong push” to re-sign Ryan Madson

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Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports that the Phillies are making a “strong push” to re-sign free agent closer Ryan Madson.

Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com hears similar information, citing one major league source who says the Phillies are working hard to keep Madson and possibly nearing an agreement.

As for Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, he’s predictably not tipping his hand.

“I do not characterize my negotiations,” Amaro said. “I need a closer. It’s no secret I need a closer.”

When asked whether he was talking to other high-profile closers like Heath Bell and Jonathan Papelbon, Amaro said, “I am talking to everyone.”

Meanwhile, Boras told Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com that the two sides are still “exchanging proposals.” It’s believed that Madson could find a three or four-year deal in free agency.

Madson, 31, posted a 2.37 ERA and 62/16 K/BB ratio over 60 2/3 innings this season. After struggling in the closer role in previous seasons, he went 32-for-34 in save opportunities in 2011.

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.

Bryce Harper sets April record for runs scored

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With four runs scored during Sunday’s 23-5 drubbing of the Mets, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper set a new April record for runs scored at 32, MLB.com’s Oliver Macklin reports. The record was previously held by Larry Walker, who scored 29 runs for the Rockies in April 1997.

Harper finished 2-for-4 with a pair of walks and a solo home run (off of Mets catcher Kevin Plawecki) on the afternoon. He’s now hitting .391/.509/.772 with nine home runs and 26 RBI on the year.