Here are the latest minor moves from around the game:
- Utilityman Munenori Kawasaki is heading back to Japan after inking a deal with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, his former NPB club, as Nikkan Sports reports (Japanese language link). The 35-year-old has enjoyed an interesting stint in North America, drawing plenty of attention for his clown prince role in the dugout. But he hasn’t played all that much, particularly over the past two seasons. If this is it for Kawasaki stateside, he’ll stand on a .237/.320/.289 slash line with one single dinger over 738 plate appearances.
- Righty Mark Montgomery has landed a minor-league deal with the Cardinals after being released by the Yankees, Josh Norris of Baseball America reports (Twitter links). The 26-year-old has battled control problems at times, but has also shown his share of promise. Last year, over 45 2/3 innings in the upper minors, he worked to a 2.56 ERA with 12.4 /9 against 4.3 BB/9 while allowing only 31 hits.
- The Indians released slugger Wily Mo Pena, the team announced. The 35-year-old hasn’t played in the majors since 2011, but had been quite productive during a stint in Japan. Over four years with three different NPB clubs, he slashed .264/.355/.460 with 71 long balls. Pena did not play last year and didn’t get much of a look this spring; it’s not clear at this point what his future intentions are.
- Plenty of other players have also been set free by organizations that do not have anywhere to put them. Among them, the Braves have released first baseman Balbino Fuenmayor, MLBTR’s Steve Adams tweets. He has put up big numbers at times, most recently in the Venezuelan winter league, but has yet to receive a shot at the majors. Also hitting the open market, after spending camp with the Rangers, is righty Anthony Carter. (Also per Steve, via Twitter.) The 30-year-old, who’s also looking to stamp a ticket to the majors for the first time, did at least show that he’s back to health. And seven-year MLB veteran southpaw James Russell followed Pena out the door. He was cut loose today by the Indians, per a club announcement.