The Red Sox currently have three pitchers — Daniel Bard, Alfredo Aceves and Felix Doubront — vying for the final two spots in the starting rotation. And with the start of the season just days away, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine is ready to announce a decision.
Perhaps it’s just the way the information was framed by Cafardo, but this would seem to suggest that Valentine will ultimately make the call, which is interesting considering that we heard last weekend that he was skeptical about Bard’s conversion from the bullpen to the starting rotation. Still, it would be surprising if Bard didn’t get a chance. No harm in giving him a handful of starts and moving him back to the bullpen if things don’t work out. It’s a lot more difficult to do it the other way around.
If Bard does get the nod, the expectation is that Doubront would get the other spot, as they wouldn’t want to weaken the bullpen too much.
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.