Bill Madden of the New York Daily News wrote a column about Bobby Valentine in which he reports that the Red Sox manager “got all over shortstop Mike Aviles in what sources described as ‘a very ugly scene’ during infield drills.”
That was during spring training and Madden claims that the incident led to a “near player revolt” in which “a group of Red Sox players confronted him with outrage” and “Valentine had to apologize to Aviles.”
Rob Bradford of WEEI.com contacted Aviles directly to ask for his side of the story and he replied: “I don’t know where that came from. I don’t remember any incident like that. There was nothing that comes to mind that would be anything like that other than just normal player/coach interaction.”
Not exactly a firm, no-doubt-about-it denial, or maybe I’m just being too cynical. Either way, even Maddon writes that “since then Valentine has outwardly praised Aviles” and of course installing him as the leadoff hitter despite a .319 career on-base percentage suggests the stay in the doghouse was short-lived if it existed at all.
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.