Major League Baseball won’t be taking any action against the Cardinals’ Yadier Molina after a wayward pitch stuck to the catcher’s chest protector during Thursday’s 6-4 loss to the Cubs. According to the official rulebook, the use of any foreign substance on a baseball is strictly prohibited, but there are no provisions in place to punish a non-pitcher who is caught with the substance on his person.
That may be why, as both ESPN’s Mark Saxon and the Chicago Tribune’s Mark Gonzales pointed out, the Cubs did not request that home plate umpire Quinn Wolcott inspect the ball shortly after the incident occurred. After the game, Cubs’ outfielder Jason Heyward explained that Molina had probably used something like pine tar or an adhesive spray called Tuf-Skin to get a better grip on the ball, which inadvertently led to the odd play — and, later, a blown lead for the Cardinals.
Both Molina and manager Mike Matheny denied any knowledge of a foreign substance on Molina’s uniform. No in-depth explanation has been offered up by the team so far, and with Major League Baseball backing off, it’s unlikely that they’ll volunteer more details anytime soon. As Matheny relayed to MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch: “I don’t know what happened. I have no idea. I’ve never seen it.”
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.