Cubs top prospect Kris Bryant ended his Double-A career by winning the Home Run Derby at the All-Star game and last night he started his Triple-A career by homering in his first game.
Bryant went opposite field for a two-run homer, giving him 23 long balls in 69 total games this season between the two levels. And if you toss in his numbers in the low minors last year, plus his numbers at the University of San Diego before being drafted No. 2 overall last June, he’s got 63 homers in 167 games dating back to the start of 2013.
So far the Cubs’ front office has given every indication that Bryant will not be promoted to the big leagues this year, but it’s worth noting that as recently as two weeks ago they were also hinting pretty strongly that they had no plans to even promote him from Double-A to Triple-A. Hitting like he has–.353 with a 1.161 OPS overall–tends to change some plans.
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.