Royals making starter Anibal Sanchez their “top choice”

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The Royals badly need a front-line starting pitcher.

And it appears they might have one in their sights.

FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi hears that the Kansas City front office has made free agent right-hander Anibal Sanchez their “top choice” this winter. It’s going to cost a ton of money, but the Royals’ higher-ups are surely aware of that and presumably wouldn’t get involved at all if they didn’t think they could swing it.

Sanchez has also been drawing interest this offseason from the Dodgers, Red Sox and Tigers. He’s likely to wait to pick a team until after Zack Greinke sets the market with what could be a record contract for a right-handed starting pitcher.

Sanchez, 28, registered a solid 3.86 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 167/48 K/BB ratio in 195 2/3 innings this past summer between Miami and Detroit. He then posted a shiny 1.77 ERA over three postseason starts.

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.