Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays have granted Heath Bell his release, a week after they designated the right-hander for assignment.
Bell, 36, struggled in his brief time with the Rays, posting a 7.27 ERA in 17 1/3 innings over 13 relief appearances. He has not found success since leaving sunny San Diego following the 2011 season. In the time since, he has joined the Marlins, Diamondbacks, and Rays and has a disappointing 4.91 ERA to show for it.
Still, considering that Joel Hanrahan recently found work with the Tigers, it’s hard to imagine Bell getting passed over by 29 teams, most of which could use a veteran arm in the bullpen.
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.
With four runs scored during Sunday’s 23-5 drubbing of the Mets, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper set a new April record for runs scored at 32, MLB.com’s Oliver Macklin reports. The record was previously held by Larry Walker, who scored 29 runs for the Rockies in April 1997.
Harper finished 2-for-4 with a pair of walks and a solo home run (off of Mets catcher Kevin Plawecki) on the afternoon. He’s now hitting .391/.509/.772 with nine home runs and 26 RBI on the year.