Good news for the Bombers.
Curtis Granderson confirmed on his Twitter account this afternoon that he was able to throw today for the first time since he suffered a broken right forearm when he was hit by a pitch on February 24.
According to Andy McCullough of the Newark Star-Ledger, the next step calls for Granderson to begin swinging a bat. He’ll likely test himself in an extended spring training before going out on an official minor league rehab assignment, but the hope is that he’ll be ready to be activated around the middle of next month.
While the Yankees were considering moving Granderson to left field during spring training, he is expected to return as the full-time center fielder. Brett Gardner will simply slide over to left.
Granderson, 32, batted .232/.319/.492 with 43 home runs, 106 RBI and an .811 OPS last season. He’s due to become a free agent following the 2013 season.
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.