The latest minor moves from around MLB...
- The Astros released first baseman Jimmy Van Ostrand and right-hander Lance Pendleton, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com tweets.
- The Brewers released catcher Mike Rivera, according to the team (via media relations director Mike Vassallo on Twitter). The 35-year-old appeared in one game with the 2011 Brewers and has experience in nine MLB seasons.
- The Yankees announced that they released Russell Branyan from his minor league contract and re-signed him to a new one. The Yankees appear to save $100K with the maneuver.
- The Blue Jays acquired right-hander Ryota Igarashi from the Pirates for cash considerations or a player to be named later, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reports (Twitter links). Davidi suggests the Blue Jays will likely assign Igarashi to Triple-A. The 32-year-old appeared in 45 games for the 2011 Mets, posting a 4.66 ERA with 9.8 K/9 and 6.5 BB/9 in 38 2/3 innings.
- The Phillies announced that they traded minor league first baseman Matt Rizzotti to the Twins for cash considerations today. The 26-year-old spent the 2011 season at Double-A Reading and posted a .295/.392/.511 line with 24 home runs, 34 doubles and 79 walks in 587 plate appearances.
Hoey, 28, struggled in 24 2/3 innings with the Twins this year, his first big league action since 2007. He posted a 3.83 ERA in 42 1/3 Triple-A innings. The Twins acquired the hard-throwing Hoey a year ago in the J.J. Hardy deal.
Patrick Newman from NPB Tracker and MLBTR's Nick Collias relay some information from foreign sources:
- According to Newman, the Chiba Lotte Marines made a conditional agreement last offseason to allow Tsuyoshi Nishioka to move to MLB. This explains the otherwise puzzling move to post Nishioka coming off his strongest season, with three years left before he's eligible for free agency. Newman says the decision to post Nishioka will be resolved by the 17th.
- According to this article (translated by Collias), the Twins signed right-handed reliever Yorman Bazardo to a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training. The 26-year-old has previously been with the Marlins, Tigers, Mariners, and Astros organizations. He's seen 60 1/3 innings in the big leagues, but hasn't duplicated his minor league success (3.89 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 5.4 K/9 in 1091 innings).
- In a second article translated by Collias, we hear that the Rangers have told Andres Blanco that they view him as either an outfielder or catcher, but no longer as an infielder. The 26-year-old will work out at both positions in the Venezuelan winter leagues to try to earn another spot with the Rangers. In 68 games (185 PAs) this season, Blanco hit .277/.330/.349 while backing up Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus.
The Braves signed top pick Matt Lipka, according to MLB.com's Mark Bowman (via Twitter). Bowman notes that Atlanta also signed seventh rounder Matt Suschak (Twitter link). The Braves, who chose Lipka 35th overall, signed the supplementary rounder for a slot bonus of $800K, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Lipka, 18, is a high school shortstop from Texas and had committed to playing at the University of Alabama. He hit .400 in high school, went 10-3 with a 1.43 ERA as a pitcher and also starred on the football field. Braves scouting director Tony DeMacio told Bowman that the Braves like Lipka's speed.
"We needed some speed in the organization, plus he plays in the middle of the diamond," DeMacio said. "He's got a plus arm. He's a plus fielder. He's got makeup off the chart. He's just a winning type of player."
DeMacio says the Braves believe Lipka can play shortstop or center field.
The Mariners designated Texeira and Jesus Colome for assignment two days ago. The Yankees acquired Texeira in the 2008 deal that brought Nick Swisher to the Bronx, but they saw the Mariners claim the 24-year-old Hawaiian in last winter's Rule 5 draft. The Royals have to expose Texeira to waivers if they decide to take him off their active roster this year. If no team were to claim Texeira on waivers, the Royals would have to offer him back to the Yankees.
Kanekoa relied on a 90 mph fastball, a change-up and a slider in Seattle, where he posted a 5.30 ERA with 6.8 K/9 and 4.8 BB/9 in 16 appearances this year. He has a 2.49 ERA with 8.7 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in four minor league seasons.
SATURDAY, 12:47pm: MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch reports that Bass has cleared waivers and accepted an assignment to Triple-A.
MONDAY, 3:03pm: The Pirates designated Brian Bass for assignment, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (via Twitter). The right-hander is out of options, so he'll be exposed to other clubs, but the Pirates wanted to make room for Ross Ohlendorf.
Bass, 28, allowed nine hits and eight walks in 6.1 innings for the Pirates this season for a 12.79 ERA. The Pirates signed Bass to a minor league deal in January, a month after the Orioles non-tendered him. Bass appeared in 48 games for the Orioles last year, logging 86.1 innings. He allowed 106 hits a year ago with 5.6 K/9 and 4.6 BB/9 so it wasn't a surprise when the Orioles declined to offer Bass a contract.
Within ten days we'll see Bass traded, released or, if he clears waivers, assigned to the minor leagues. Bass has been just part of the problem for a Pirates pitching staff that ranks last in the National League in runs allowed (195) and earned runs allowed (179).