Alex Avila just returned from a hamstring injury late last week, but now he’s hurting again.
According to Jason Beck of MLB.com, Avila is out of tonight’s lineup against the Rangers due to renewed soreness in his left knee. It’s a troubling development, as he missed a couple days in the early part of May due to soreness in the same knee and had problems with both knees down the stretch and into the postseason last year.
Avila acknowledged that he felt pain in the knee during Sunday’s game while Tigers manager Jim Leyland said he “could tell he wasn’t feeling right.” The 25-year-old backstop was sent for an MRI this morning and the Tigers should know more about his status after he is examined by the Rangers’ team doctor tonight.
Avila is 1-for-14 with two walks in four games since returning from the disabled list and is hitting .234/.324/.396 with five home runs, 20 RBI and a .720 OPS over 177 plate appearances this season. He has thrown out 33 percent (15-for-45) of attempted basestealers.
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.