X-rays on Michael Morse’s hand come back negative

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UPDATE: Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com reports that X-rays on Morse’s hand came back negative. He’ll likely have to miss a few days, but it looks like the Nats caught a break.

8:09 PM: The Nationals just announced that Morse left the game with a right hand contusion. We’ll likely hear more on his status after the game.

7:40 PM: Scary moment tonight for the first-place Nationals.

From Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com comes word that Michael Morse left tonight’s game against the Phillies in the first inning after being hit in the right hand by a pitch from Phillies’ right-hander Kyle Kendrick. He was in quite a deal of pain when he left the field and was replaced by Roger Bernadina on the basepaths and in left field.

Losing Morse for an extended period of time would obviously be quite a blow to the Nationals’ offense, which has really clicked over the past two months. The 30-year-old didn’t make his season debut this year until June 2 due to a strained lat muscle, but he’s hitting .286/.316/.459 with 12 home runs, 45 RBI and a .775 OPS in 73 games played.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman not considering demoting struggling Greg Bird

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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.

Chris Archer threw behind Jose Bautista

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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.