Link-O-Rama: Maddon fills out his All-Star staff

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* Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu and Royals manager Trey Hillman have been named to Joe Maddon’s bench for the All-Star game, but I’m more interested in this note
about the rest of his staff: “Toronto Blue Jays head trainer George
Poulis and Oakland Athletics head athletic trainer Steve Sayles will
round out the AL staff.”

You’d be hard-pressed to find two trainers who’ve presided over more
significant injuries recently than Poulis and Sayles. Apparently Mark
Prior’s personal trainer and Jack Kevorkian weren’t available.

* Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe has a lengthy update
on Eric Gagne’s comeback attempt, which currently involves starting
games for the Quebec Capitales of the Canadian-American League. Gagne
allowed five runs on nine hits and four walks over 4.2 innings in his
first outing last week.

* Matt Kemp delivered a walk-off single
last night and is now hitting .315/.381/.492 for an .873 OPS that ranks
third on the Dodgers behind only Manny Ramirez and Casey Blake … yet
he’s batted seventh or lower in the lineup for three-fourths of his
starts.

* Yesterday the Pirates became the latest–and perhaps last–team to realize the dangers of catching fly balls at the Metrodome.

Diamondbacks return Rule 5 pick Tyler Jones to Yankees

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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.

Derek Norris signing with the Rays

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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.