Seven days after announcing that they were shifting him from the rotation into the closer’s role, the White Sox revealed today that Chris Sale will start Saturday’s game against the Royals.
The original move was made by the White Sox field staff, but Sale lobbied GM Ken Williams to remain in the rotation and will get his way.
Williams said that an MRI on Sale’s elbow came back “clean and pristine” but that he’ll continue to be monitored. Sale will be expected to be honest about the state of his arm going forward. It was concerns about his elbow and his ability to hold up as a starter that prompted last week’s switch.
Sale was supposed to replace Hector Santiago as the White Sox closer, but now that appears to be Addison Reed’s job. It probably should have been Reed’s role all along anyway.
Sale is 3-1 with a 2.81 ERA in five starts this season. He made one relief appearance after the move, giving up an unearned run in the eighth inning Tuesday and getting charged with a blown save.
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.