There was some thought that Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez would move to center field for the 2014 season, but manager Walt Weiss put that idea to rest today. According to MLB.com’s Thomas Harding, CarGo will stay in left while center field is up for grabs between Drew Stubbs, Corey Dickerson, and Brandon Barnes.
Gonzalez dealt with a sprained middle finger in the second half of the 2013 season, then underwent an emergency appendectomy last month. While he shouldn’t be described as injury-prone (a finger sprain and a bursting appendix are fluke injuries, after all), he has played in 135 or fewer games in each of the past three seasons. Gonzalez is expected to be put under less stress in an outfield corner rather than in center, particularly at Coors Field.
Gonzalez was quite productive last season when he was healthy and in the lineup. In 110 games, Gonzalez posted a .302/.367/.591 line and made the All-Star roster for the second consecutive year. The 28-year-old is entering the fourth year of a seven-year, $80 million contract with the Rockies.
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.