Clay Buchholz hasn’t pitched in a major league game since June 8 because of neck and shoulder troubles. But there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald reports that the right-hander threw around 50 pitches — simulating three innings of work — on Wednesday afternoon off a bullpen mound and called it his “best day so far” in a chat later with various Boston media members.
“Today felt like a good time for me to test it, and yeah, the last 30 pitches I didn’t feel anything,” said Buchholz. “I think that was the best thing I could take out of it.”
Buchholz will throw a similar-style bullpen session on Saturday and could then be considered for a minor league rehab assignment. There’s still hope that he will be ready for activation by the end of August.
Buchholz, 29, was 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in 12 starts before landing on the disabled list.
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.