Red Sox to start contract talks with David Ortiz next week

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General manager Ben Cherington has said that the Red Sox hope to re-sign free agent David Ortiz and Joe McDonald of ESPN Boston talked to a team source who says negotiations will begin “at some point next week.”

According to McDonald the two sides have had some informal talks already, but things are expected to get “serious” next week after Cherington noted that Ortiz “is someone who we feel strongly about bringing back.”

For his part Ortiz has said he wants to a multi-year deal, but for a 37-year-old who missed nearly the entire second half with an Achilles’ tendon injury that seems like a stretch. When healthy Ortiz was still an elite hitter, batting .318 with 23 homers in 90 games while topping a 1.000 OPS for the first time since 2007, but he also wanted a multi-year deal last offseason before accepting arbitration and settling for a one-year, $14.575 million contract.

Back then he was a 36-year-old designated hitter coming off a .953 OPS in 146 games. Now he’ll be a 37-year-old designated hitter coming off a 1.026 OPS in 90 games.

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.