AL East roundup: Rays and Yankees struggle with injuries, John Farrell ejected

Jeff Zelevansky

The East is the most evenly competitive division in baseball after the first 13 games.

Baltimore Orioles

The ball girl in Baltimore fielded a fair ball. Poor kid.

Ubaldo Jimenez lost his third straight game. His ERA through three starts is 7.31. Needless to say, that's not what the O's had in mind when they finally gave in to the temptation to sign him. It's far too early for the team to experience full blown buyer's remorse, and manager Buck Showalter is well aware of Jimenez' tendency to start slowly.

"If you look at his kind of history, he gets better as the year goes on. He has some challenges last year and came on real strong. You trust the person and the character. He's in good standing where that's concerned. He'll keep fighting. He'll work his way through it."

Speaking -- or typing rather -- of Showalter, he misses arguing with the umpires. With the replay system in place, the backwards-hat-dirt-kicking spittlefests that used to be a common occurrence appear to be waning. Of course, there's still room for disagreement ...

Boston Red Sox

Sox manager John Farrell was ejected from Sunday night's 3-2 loss to the Yankees. He became the first manager in MLB history to be ejected for arguing with the results of a challenge. The Sporting News' Jesse Spector caught up with Farrell after the game.

"We felt it was clear that the replay was inconclusive. The frustrating part is, when this was rolled out and explained to us, particularly on the throw to the first baseman, we were instructed that when the ball enters the glove — not that it has to hit the back of the glove — is where the out is deemed complete. At the same time, any angle that we looked at, you couldn't tell that the foot was on the bag behind Mike Napoli's leg. So, where this became conclusive is a hard pill to swallow. On the heels of yesterday, it's hard to have any faith in the system, to be honest with you."

Red Sox closer Koji Uehara could be headed for the disabled list, but the club has an apt replacement in offseason acquisition Edward Mujica, according to Boston.com's Adam Kaufman. Like Uehara, one of Mujica's biggest strengths is avoiding the free pass. Both pitchers have walked fewer than two batters per nine innings in their careers, but despite his 37 saves last season, Mujica has never put together a campaign that evenly remotely resembles the dominant run Uehara put together last season. But to be fair, only a handful of relievers have been that good in the last decade or so.

New York Yankees

The Yankees patchwork infield has some injuries to deal, as evidenced by Carlos Beltran's first career appearance at first base in Sunday night's game against the Red Sox. Derek Jeter, Francisco Cervelli, and Brian Roberts are now injured, and first baseman Mark Teixeira is still on the disabled list. Closer David Robertson is also on the 15-day disabled list, leaving the Yanks to turn to Shawn Kelley in the ninth inning.

Unfortunately, signing Stephen Drew wouldn't immediately solve all the Yankees' problems, but it certainly seems like the team could use him right now -- and for the rest of the season. Drew's agent, Scott Boras, recently claimed that anonymous quotes from a story by ESPN "damaged" the market for Drew -- and Kendrys Morales. The claims could be seen as a tactic to get people talking about his clients, but Boras might not have to resort to such histrionics if the Yankees lose another infielder.

Tampa Bay Rays

With Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Moore and Alex Cobb on the disabled list, the Rays selected the contract of 11-year veteran Erik Bedard. In a corresponding move, they demoted Keven Kiermaier to Triple-A Durham. The team has already adjusted to the injuries by adding Cesar Ramos to the rotation, but with Cobb sidelined for four to six weeks, they'll likely need Bedard to start games as well. The original plan was to have him serve as a long reliever.

The Rays' hitters have gone relatively unscathed in the early going. Only infielder Tim Beckham is on the disabled list at the moment. He's unlikely to return this season after having knee surgery last month.

Chris Moran at DRays Bay highlighted the team's newest game plan wrinkle -- a barrage of changeups.

Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays moved Maicer Izturis to the disabled list and demoted Erik Kratz to Triple-A Buffalo, recalling fan favorite Munenori Kawasaki and J.A. HappBluebird Banter's Tom Dakers doesn't sound particularly excited about the Jays decision to go with an eight-man bullpen.

"So we are back to the 8-man bullpen. You know how much I love that. I'd imagine Happ will be in the bullpen at least for now. That would give us three lefties and five right-handers in the pen. I don't know how they will find work for all those games. I guess it gives them more people to use while Santos sits in a late inning tie game."

Just in case you have somehow forgotten about the indisputable greatness of Munenori Kawasaki, here's a reminder.

Kawasakidance_medium

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