The Home Run Derby created some unexpected drama when Mets third baseman David Wright picked childhood friend Michael Cuddyer over Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez. This caught the ire of Pirates fans, who felt that Alvarez was much more deserving of a selection. On Thursday, Cuddyer’s teammate and fellow Derby participant Carlos Gonzalez bowed out due to a sprained right middle finger. Alvarez took his spot, at long last.
On Friday, the Mets opened up a three-game series in Pittsburgh against the Pirates to wrap up the first half. Though Alvarez was in the Derby, Pirates fans jeered Wright with varying degrees of enthusiasm throughout the weekend. This upset Mets manager Terry Collins, who insists Pirates fans “better reevaluate what’s going on”.
Via Rob Biertempfel:
“When you start booing David Wright, you better re-evaluate what’s going on,” Collins said after the Mets’ 4-2 win. “Because there’s nobody who plays the game any harder or who epitomizes what you want a major league player to be than David Wright, for heaven’s sakes.”
Collins is making a mountain out of a molehill here, as Wright never really had a full cascade of heckling the way Robinson Cano did last year from Kansas City fans. Cano had passed over Butler last year as the captain of the AL Derby squad. As the host of the All-Star Game festivities were held at Kaufmann Stadium, Butler’s home ballpark, Cano was lustily booed before he took his cuts in last year’s Derby, in which he went homerless. Wright has heard much, much worse from fans in Philadelphia and in the Bronx.
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.