In a somewhat surprising move, the New York Yankees sent reserve infielder Ronald Torreyes to the minors to clear a roster spot for first baseman Greg Bird.
The diminutive and popular Torreyes, batting .339 in a backup role, was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after Friday night's victory over the Los Angeles Angels. Bird was reinstated from the disabled list Saturday and was in the starting lineup, batting sixth and playing first base. He had been sidelined since having right ankle surgery on March 27.
“I feel like I'm going to hit the ground running. We've got a great team and I'm excited to be back,” Bird said. “I'm ready to go every day.”
Rather than demote first baseman Tyler Austin or one of their eight relief pitchers, the Yankees chose to send down Torreyes, who has a solid .785 OPS in 22 games and can play several positions.
“Obviously, a very difficult decision for us,” manager Aaron Boone said. “Hopefully, it's something that's temporary. I mean, for what Toe means to our team, to our clubhouse, to the guys in that room, to the way he performs, certainly not deserved. You know, with 14 games over 13 days I think we just felt like we needed the extra pitcher through this time. Feel like other guys have very much thrown themselves into the mix as far as deserving to be here — Toe included. So, a very difficult decision was made and it made for a difficult night.”
The 25-year-old Bird made his big league debut in 2015 and had 11 homers and 31 RBIs in 46 games. He missed 2016 after surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder.
Last year, Bird hit .451 with eight homers in spring training, but fouled a ball off his right ankle March 30, started the season 6 for 60 and went on the disabled list May 2. When the foot did not improve, Bird had surgery July 18 to remove a bone in the ankle.
Bird returned Aug. 26 and hit .253 with eight homers and 25 RBIs in 29 games, then batted .241 three homers and six RBIs in 13 playoff games.
He hit just .154 in 52 at-bats during spring training this year with one homer, one double and four RBIs. Bird went 8 for 39 (.205) with three homers and eight RBIs over 12 games in a minor league injury rehabilitation assignment.
Cubs place Yu Darvish on DL
The Chicago Cubs placed Yu Darvish on the 10-day disabled list Saturday with right triceps tendinitis, continuing a rough season for the right-hander.
The Cubs also optioned catcher Victor Caratini to Triple-A Iowa before their game against San Francisco. Veteran catcher Chris Gimenez and left-handed reliever Randy Rosario were brought up from the minors, and infielder Efren Navarro was designated for assignment.
Darvish is 1-3 with a 4.95 ERA in his first season after finalizing a $126 million, six-year deal with the Cubs in February. He was slated to start the series finale against the Giants on Sunday night, but Tyler Chatwood will move up a day to take his place.
The 31-year-old Darvish had been showing signs of a turnaround, pitching six innings of two-hit ball last Sunday at Cincinnati for his first win with his new team. He has allowed just two runs and five hits in his last 10 innings.
The DL move was made retroactive to Wednesday. The Cubs did not immediately announce a starter for Monday's series opener at Pittsburgh.
The 24-year-old Caratini appeared in 26 games with Chicago, batting .262 with four RBIs. Manager Joe Maddon said the move was made primarily to get him more playing time.
Gimenez, 35, signed a minor league contract with Chicago over the winter after a combined nine seasons with five major league teams. He played for Maddon with Tampa Bay in 2012 and 2013 and had some success with Darvish with Texas in 2014.
Indians reliever Andrew Miller back on DL
Cleveland Indians reliever Andrew Miller is back on the 10-day disabled list, this time with inflammation in his right knee, and there's no timetable for his return.
The AL Central-leading Indians made the move Saturday, a day after the lefty gave up three runs and got just two outs in an 11-2 loss to Houston.
Cleveland recalled right-handers Ben Taylor and Evan Marshall from Triple-A Columbus. Right-hander Oliver Drake, who allowed six runs on Friday night, was designated for assignment.
Miller was on the DL from April 26-May 11 with a strained left hamstring. He began the season with 10 consecutive scoreless innings, but is 0-3 with a 14.55 ERA in six games since being activated.
Miller is 1-3 with a 4.40 ERA and one save in 17 appearances this season. He has been a key contributor for the Indians since their run to the 2016 World Series, pitching in a variety of relief roles. He was on the DL twice last season with patella tendinitis in his right knee.