Astros’ sale on the agenda for MLB owners’ meeting next week

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We’ve heard rumors of this before, but it seems like it’s really happening this time.

According to Ronald Blum of the Associated Press, the proposed sale of the Astros from Drayton McLane to Jim Crane is on the agenda for the MLB owners’ meetings next week in Milwaukee. The vote is expected to take place Thursday.

Blum was told by two sources that McLane, Crane and MLB “have reached an understanding” that would shift the franchise to the American League, beginning in 2013. The Astros would join the American League West, clearing the way for two 15-team leagues. Under these changes, it’s expected that we would have interleague play on a daily basis and two additional Wild Card teams.

Crane reached a deal with McLane in May to buy the team for $680 million, but Jon Heyman of SI.com hears that he could get a discount of up to $80 million as incentive to agree to move the franchise to the American League.

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.