R.A. Dickey surprised by slow pace of Mets contract talks

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While making an appearance at a school in Harlem to promote literary R.A. Dickey gave an update on his contract talks with the Mets, saying that “the pace is slow” and reiterating that he won’t continue to negotiate once the season begins.

Dickey is under contract for $5 million in 2013 and has said all along that he won’t talk in-season, making it clear that he’d like to get an extension worked out sooner than later. He also noted that he thought talks would proceed more quickly based on what general manager Sandy Alderson said early in the offseason.

“We have until spring training, but I would think they would formulate some kind of plan so they can know what they can do forthcoming,” Dickey said, via Adam Rubin of ESPN New York. “They have offered and we have countered. That’s kind of the stage that we’re in. We’re hoping to hear back from them soon and get the dialogue going again.”

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.