Via Karen Price of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
Francisco Liriano is scheduled to pitch five innings (80 pitches) on Thursday for Triple-A Indianapolis, six innings (90 pitches) on Tuesday and 100 pitches on May 5, which puts him in line for a start with the Pirates on May 10 at the New York Mets.
Liriano broke a bone in his non-throwing arm while trying to play a prank on his kids on Christmas Day. The Pirates renegotiated his two-year, $12.75 million free agent contract after that incident so that only $1 million of the deal is now guaranteed. He can make up the rest through performance-based incentives.
The 29-year-old left-hander posted a 5.34 ERA, 1.47 WHIP and 167/87 K/BB ratio across 156 2/3 innings last season between the Twins and White Sox. But the Bucs believe he will be an upgrade for them.
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.