Pirates prospect Evan Chambers passes away at age 24

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Terrible news to pass along this evening, as Pirates minor leaguer Evan Chambers passed away in his sleep over the weekend. He was just 24 years old.

Chambers was a third-round pick of Pittsburgh in 2009. An outfielder, he had worked his way up to the Double-A level before missing most of this season with a foot injury. Talking about his baseball career is almost pointless at a time like this. It’s just sad to see a young life cut short, no matter their profession. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

Below is a statement from Pirates general manager Neal Huntington:

“All of us at the Pittsburgh Pirates are shocked and saddened by Evan’s sudden passing in his sleep this past weekend. Beyond being just a talented ballplayer, Evan was a great teammate and a quiet leader who went about his craft as a professional every day. Off the field, Evan loved making a difference in the community, and often dedicated a lot of his time working with children in the communities in which he played. Our heartfelt sympathies and prayers go out to his family for this unimaginable loss. He was far too young. He will be missed.”

We’ll add reaction from around the baseball world throughout the evening:

Yankees GM Brian Cashman not considering demoting struggling Greg Bird

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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

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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.