It only takes one person to make a movement these days, so sure, let’s call it a movement. It’s from Bill Chuck at Billy-Ball:
I urge Jim Leyland and the powers that be in Major League Baseball that the starting pitcher in the All-Star Game on July 16 at Citi Field in New York City for the American League should be none other than the greatest closer of all-time, Mariano Rivera.
Why you ask?
Why not, I reply.
And he explains his reasoning. The one argument of nine he makes that I actually kinda like is that it would pit Mariano against the NL’s best as opposed to the 30-35th guys on the roster in a late-inning, possibly non-save situation.
But overall? Blah. Mariano Rivera is a closer. He pitches the ninth inning. Though we may not like modern pitcher usage models, that’s his job. And that’s before acknowledging that giving him the start deprives a worthy starting pitcher of the job. For what? Some spotlight and attention for Rivera? As if he hasn’t received enough accolades already? For cryin’ out loud, people treat him like a near-Jesus figure as it is.
I love Rivera. I agree that the All-Star Game has devolved into a spectacle as it is. But this seems silly and unnecessary to me. Wanna get behind a good cause? Let’s get Vin Scully to broadcast the World Series first.
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.