Cliff Lee is slated to return from the disabled list one week from today against the Giants in Philadelphia, but Corey Seidman of CSNPhilly.com brings word that his final tuneup in the minors didn’t go smoothly.
Pitching for High-A Clearwater on Monday night, Lee was knocked around for eight runs — three earned — on eight hits and a walk over 4 2/3 innings. He also hit a batter. Following an error by shortstop prospect J.P Crawford, Lee gave up five runs in the first inning, including a two-run home run. No word yet on his velocity, but that’s an ugly outing no matter what. Lee now has a 5.06 ERA and 8/2 K/BB ratio in 10 2/3 innings over three rehab starts.
Lee hasn’t pitched in the majors since May 18 due to a flexor strain in his left elbow, but the timing of his return will allow him to make a couple of starts to prove his health and effectiveness in advance of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Lee, 35, is owed around $12 million for the rest of this season and $25 million for next season while his contract includes a $27.5 million vesting option or $12.5 million buyout for 2016.
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.