The Yankees finish in Houston. And, as has happened in every other city Mariano Rivera has bid farewell, he will get a sendoff there too. And an old friend will be part of that:
Rivera’s final goodbye ceremony will come in Houston, where the Yankees will play their last game of the regular season against the Astros. And that’s where things probably get a little awkward, at least for some people. For scheduled to take part in the pregame ceremony is none other than Roger Clemens, now a special front-office assistant for the Astros who was a teammate of Rivera’s in New York for five-plus seasons.
Not sure why that’s awkward given that Alex Rodriguez has been playing third base to Rivera’s right for several years and given that Andy Pettitte had his own Yankee Stadium farewell in front of Rivera just last weekend.
But as we have learned over the past few years, not all PED users are the created equally.
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.