Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner and Rays first baseman Rickie Weeks, Jr. both left Wednesday afternoon’s game after both were involved in an ugly collision on a play at first base in the bottom of the sixth inning.
With runners on the corner and one out in a 3-3 ballgame, Brett Gardner chopped a grounder back to reliever Xavier Cedeno. Cedeno thought about going towards second, but decided to whip the ball to first for the sure out. His throw was low and a bit off the mark, taking Weeks into the first base line. Weeks could not corral the one-hopper and appeared to move towards foul territory in an attempt to chase the ball, but Gardner crashed into him hard, sending both players to the ground.
Both players were very visibly shaken up. Gardner left immediately, being replaced by pinch-runner Ronald Torreyes. Weeks also left the game, replaced by Logan Morrison.
The Yankees and Rays should provide status updates on Gardner and Weeks, respectively, after the game.
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.