The Rangers acquired Giants’ right-hander Clayton Blackburn in exchange for minor league infielder Frandy De La Rosa and cash considerations, according to reports from the teams on Sunday afternoon. The Giants designated Blackburn for assignment last Tuesday and were expected to deal him after he drew interest from multiple teams throughout the offseason. Blackburn was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock following the trade.
The 24-year-old righty was billed as one of Baseball Prospectus’ top 100 prospects prior to the 2013 season and worked his way to Triple-A Sacramento by 2015, where he put up a 2.85 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 7.2 SO/9 through 123 innings. He looked considerably less impressive in 2016, pitching to a 4.36 ERA and watching his strikeout rate dip to 6.7 SO/9 as he labored through 136 1/3 innings and a 7-10 finish. While he doesn’t appear ready to step into a full-time role in the Rangers’ rotation just yet, he should provide the club with some depth at the Triple-A level this season.
De La Rosa, 21, is coming off of his first season in Single-A Hickory, where he slashed .250/.330/.351 with seven home runs and 19 stolen bases in 42 chances. The infielder was recently promoted to High-A Down East, where he handled seven games at first base and went 3-for-28 with five walks before Sunday’s trade.
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.