Stephen Drew acknowledges he may miss start of season

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Diamondbacks shortstop Stephen Drew had his 2011 season cut short in late July after suffering a fractured right ankle while sliding into home plate.

And he’s still battling the injury here in March.

According to MLB.com beat man Steve Gilbert, Drew is “nowhere near the point in his recovery” where he is ready to appear in Cactus League games and could land on the 15-day disabled list when the 2012 regular season opens in early April.

“The doctor said it was going to be a year process, and now I’m at month seven,” Drew acknowledged Thursday in D’Backs camp. “Flexibility is back to normal. Now I just have to get the strength back. … The coaching staff has been really good. The training staff is really good. We’re taking it one day at a time and we’ll see where it goes from there.”

The 28-year-old had a .713 OPS, five homers and 45 RBI in 86 games last year before the ankle fracture. John McDonald and Willie Bloomquist would fill in at short in the early going if Drew is indeed unavailable.

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.