Here are the latest minor moves from around the game:
- Outfielder Jerry Sands has signed on with the indy ball Somerset Patriots, per a club announcement. While plenty of former big leaguers land in the independent leagues — with a fair number making it back — it’s quite a surprise to see Sands take that route at this stage of his career. The 29-year-old Sands has seen action in five MLB campaigns, including last year with the White Sox, compiling a pedestrian .238/.303/.367 batting line in less than 500 total plate appearances. But he has handled lefties at a productive .285/.335/.477 clip in the majors and has been rather productive during his six seasons of action at Triple-A (.266/.351/.478). Sands did fall well shy of that mark during his time at the highest level of the minors in 2016, though, which may explain why he failed to attract a strong enough opportunity to land with an affiliated club.
- The Rangers have announced the signing of Adam Loewen to a minor-league deal, which includes an invitation to MLB camp. Loewen, 32, switched from pitching to hitting and then back again. He appeared briefly in the majors in each of the last two seasons, with the Phillies and then the Diamondbacks, though the results were rather forgettable. Loewen did post a 3.91 ERA over forty relief appearances at Triple-A in 2016, though he averaged 6.1 walks to go with 10.6 strikeouts per nine.
- Also joining the Rangers on a minors pact is fellow southpaw Bobby LaFromboise, per Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (via Twitter). He won’t receive an invite, though, so he’ll have to earn his way into the MLB picture with a strong showing. LaFromboise, 30, has appeared in parts of three MLB seasons, compiling a 3.63 ERA with 23 strikeouts against just five walks in his 22 1/3 total innings. Despite entering camp last year with a shot at making the Phillies’ roster, LaFromboise fell apart early at Triple-A and was released over the summer. Over his 16 2/3 innings, the lefty allowed 11 earned runs (and 17 total runs) on 29 hits over 16 2/3 innings, striking out just eight batters while allowing nine free passes. That stat line was uncharacteristic for a pitcher who had typically performed quite well in the upper minors, but perhaps the long layoff will afford him a chance to return to form.