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MLB spokesman says Rob Manfred has a clear desire for the Indians to dump Chief Wahoo

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Yesterday was the home opener at Progressive Field. The Indians home opener is one of the biggest days for protesters opposed to the club’s use of the Chief Wahoo logo, and yesterday was no exception. Their protests this year are aided, however, by commissioner Rob Manfred.

While Manfred has been on record for months saying that he acknowledges the issues many have with the antiquated and offensive racial caricature, and while he has said that he would engage in a dialogue with team owner Paul Dolan about it, he has never actually voiced his own opinion on the matter.  Now he has, in the form of a statement from Major League Baseball’s spokesman Pat Courtney, given to David Waldstein of the New York Times:

In a statement to The New York Times, Pat Courtney, a spokesman for Major League Baseball, said Manfred, in his talks with the Indians’ owners, had made clear his “desire to transition away from the Chief Wahoo logo. We have specific steps in an identified process and are making progress,’’ Courtney added. “We are confident that a positive resolution will be reached that will be good for the game and the club.’’

What those steps are is a mystery — MLB blew its chance to extract concessions from the Indians when it recently awarded them the 2019 All-Star Game — but Manfred officially stating his desire for the Indians to dump Wahoo is news. I fully predict that this will drag on for months if not longer, but Manfred is notorious for being non-committal and offering guarded support for nearly all sides of every remotely controversial matter. He, like Bud Selig before him, is a politician, and politicians aren’t famous for taking principled stands.

But now Manfred has. And those who do not wish to see Chief Wahoo go can no longer say that it’s just bleedin’ heart liberal snowflakes like me who want to see him banished to the dustbin of history. The Commissioner of Baseball himself does. And, as we almost always see, when the Commissioner wants something, the Commissioner gets it. Eventually.

Start hoarding your officially licensed Wahoo merch, Wahoo Deadenders. I suspect they’re going to become scarce at some point in the not too distant future.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman not considering demoting struggling Greg Bird

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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.

Chris Archer threw behind Jose Bautista

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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.