Opening Day for the Mets could be very uninspiring. With Johan Santana unlikely to be ready, it is looking like David Wright and Daniel Murphy could join him on the bench, according to ESPN’s Adam Rubin:
If David Wright and Murphy both open the season on the DL, Collins added, he likely would use Justin Turner at third base and Valdespin at second base to open the season. After Valdespin dabbled in the outfield in Grapefruit League games, Collins has restored him to second base because of Murphy’s situation.
Valdespin, who homered to lead off the bottom of the first and reached base in all three of his plate appearances Sunday, also likely would lead off. He also had a leadoff homer against Justin Verlander last Monday.
Valdespin hit .241 with a .286 on-base percentage in 206 plate appearances with the Mets last year as a 24-year-old rookie. Turner, who last got regular playing time as a starter in 2011, has a career .678 OPS. Needless to say, downgrading from Wright and Murphy to Turner and Valdespin will be a blow to the lineup.
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.
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.