Tigers could prefer Brian Wilson for closer

23 Comments

It was reported earlier this week that the Tigers and veteran closer Joe Nathan had “mutual interest,” but ESPN’s Buster Olney hears that the team may end up going in a different direction.

Wilson sat out most of the 2013 season while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, but he was very impressive after signing with the Dodgers in July, posting a 0.66 ERA and 13/4 K/BB ratio over 13 2/3 regular innings before delivering six scoreless innings during the playoffs. The 31-year-old right-hander has a track record of success as a closer, but he likely won’t cost as much as Nathan, who is coming off two outstanding seasons in his late-30s. That could be significant for the Tigers, who are already looking a a monster payroll for 2014.

The Indians and Rockies are among the other teams who are reportedly interested in Wilson. The Yankees have already been ruled out as a possibility due to their facial hair policy.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman not considering demoting struggling Greg Bird

Brian Blanco/Getty Images
2 Comments

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.

Chris Archer threw behind Jose Bautista

Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
8 Comments

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.