Quick Hits: Volquez, Tanaka, D’Backs

The Major League Baseball Players Association announced that Kevin McGuiness, a lawyer who has spent a decade heading a lobbying firm in Washington, D.C., has been hired as COO under new union head Tony Clark.  The 61-year-old will fill a post that had been vacant since Gene Orza retired in March 2011. McGuiness will start work with the union next month.  Tonight’s look around baseball..

  • The Pirates signed starting pitcher Edinson Volquez as a free agent this offseason, but that wasn’t the first time they had pursued him, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes. “When San Diego put me on waivers (last year), the Pirates called right away,” says Volquez. “This winter, they called again. I thought, ‘They must really want me, so let’s do it.'” Volquez posted a 5.71 ERA with 7.5 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9 with the Padres and Dodgers last year, but the Pirates have had success with down-on-their-luck pitchers like Francisco Liriano in the recent past. “What I hear about the Pirates pitching coaches and the pitching staff is pretty good,” Volquez says. “So, why not take a chance to come here and maybe get better?
  • Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers has made no secret of his desire to make a play for Masahiro Tanaka and he has a strategy in place to make it happen, writes MLB.com’s Steve GIlbert.
  • Tanaka flew to the U.S. today and is expected to start meeting with MLB clubs in the coming days, according to a report from Nikkan Sports
  • While some see the Blue Jays’ starting rotation as a weakness, others view it as an opportunity, writes Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.  Pitching prospects Sean Nolin and Marcus Stroman both say they aim to make the rotation out of spring training.  Of course, there will be less seats at the table if Toronto goes out and finds more arms via trade or free agency.

Charlie Wilmoth and Aaron Steen contributed to this post.


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