Diamondbacks interested in free agent right-hander Brandon McCarthy

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Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic passes along word that the Diamondbacks have expressed interest in free agent right-hander Brandon McCarthy. The D’Backs actually pursued McCarthy two years ago before he latched on with the A’s, though he’s obviously a different pitcher now than he was back then.

McCarthy posted a 3.24 ERA and 73/24 K/BB ratio over 111 innings with the A’s this season prior to being hit in the head by a line drive on September 5 and undergoing emergency brain surgery. The 29-year-old right-hander was cleared to resume baseball activities earlier this month and is slated to begin throwing in December.

Piecoro speculated about the possibility of McCarthy earlier this week and noted that Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers isn’t willing to go beyond two years for a starting pitcher. There are concerns about McCarthy’s history of shoulder issues, but he should be able to land a multi-year deal in this market.

 

 

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.