Vic Black has emerged as an effective late-inning bridge for the Mets this season, but now he’s headed to the 15-day disabled list with a herniated disk in his neck.
According to Matt Ehalt of the Bergen Record, Black is also dealing with bone spurs on his vertabrae. After receiving a cortisone shot today, the Mets ultimately decided to place him on the disabled list rather than go short-handed in their bullpen until rosters expand on September 1. As of now, there is no consideration to shutting him down for the season. They’ll have to hope that he avoids a better fate than Bobby Parnell, who was diagnosed with a herniated disk last year and eventually required surgery.
Black, who was acquired from the Pirates last August in the Marlon Byrd deal, owns a 2.20 ERA and 31/18 K/BB ratio over 32 2/3 innings this season. While his control is a work in progress, he has made a knack out of stranding inherited runners.
With Black sidelined, the Mets have activated right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka from the disabled list. The 33-year-old had a 3.87 ERA and 71/44 K/BB ratio over 74 1/3 innings this season prior to going down last month with elbow inflammation.
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.