* The San Diego Chicken is now 35 years old and the man inside the suit, Ted Giannoulas, was eligible to join AARP
five years ago. “Sometimes, I think when I’m wearing this chicken suit
I can live forever. I’m not kidding, man,” Giannoulas said. “I’m the
class clown, and I have the whole ballpark as my room.”
* Handed an international-record $4.25 million bonus when signed out
of the Dominican Republic as a 16-year-old last season, Michael Ynoa
has already run into arm problems and will be shut down for at least a month after being diagnosed with a strained right elbow.
* Despite sitting in first place at 35-27 and seeing their attendance increase 11 percent, the Rangers recently fired an undisclosed number of front-office staffers. Prior to the cuts, Texas had approximately 275 employees without including players.
* When it comes to the All-Star game balloting, Curtis Granderson has the Kid Rock vote all sewn up.
Diamondbacks’ right-hander Tyler Jones is headed back to the Yankees, the teams announced on Friday. The Diamondbacks had previously selected Jones in the Rule 5 draft last December, but elected to leave the 27-year-old off of their 40-man roster heading into the 2017 season. Rule 5 draft rules stipulate that when a player is not kept on the receiving team’s roster, the player must be offered back to his original team.
Jones signed a minor league contract with the Yankees prior to the 2016 season. He pitched to an impressive 2.17 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 13.2 SO/9 over 45 2/3 innings with Double-A Trenton, but was unable to make the leap to Triple-A or beyond during his stay with the organization.
Jones’ outlook with the Diamondbacks appeared slightly more promising. GM Mike Hazen described the righty as a power arm with a “good fastball and power curveball” after selecting him in the Rule 5 draft, and early reports indicated that Jones would be in the mix for a bullpen spot. A rough spring performance — underscored by his lack of experience at the Triple-A and major league levels — undid most of that confidence, however, and the Diamondbacks weren’t willing to keep him on the active roster throughout the entire 2017 season in order to acquire his control rights.
Jones is set to open the season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, per a report from the Yankees.
Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown reports that Derek Norris is signing with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Norris was released by the Nationals nine days ago, made redundant by the Nats’ signing of Matt Wieters and by everyone sliding down a notch on the depth chart below him. Norris hit only .186/.255/.328 with 14 home runs and a .528 OPS for the Padres in 2016.
Still, there always seems to be a place for a backup catcher. For Norris that place is Tampa Bay.