The Nationals have relied on Tyler Clippard as their primary closer in recent days, but he could return to his familiar set-up role before long.
According to Amanda Comak of the Washington Times, Drew Storen recently began throwing off a mound following April surgery to remove a bone chip from his right elbow. He threw for the first time on Friday and again today.
While Nationals manager Davey Johnson sensed that Storen was a little disappointed by the results today, he also said that the 24-year-old right-hander “had no problems after throwing” and is “right on track.” We should getting a better sense of his timeline in the next week or two, but he currently hopes to rejoin the Nationals’ bullpen around the All-Star break.
Storen, who was selected 10th overall in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, owns a 3.10 ERA over his first 127 relief appearances in the big leagues.
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.