Link-O-Rama: Hurdle, Bush, Blige, Baby Pedro

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* Fired as Rockies manager in the middle of this season, Clint Hurdle is reportedly close to replacing Rudy Jaramillo as the Rangers’ hitting coach. Rangers Ballpark in Arlington isn’t quite Coors Field, but Hurdle definitely picked a good place to be judged on hitters’ production.
* George W. Bush threw out the first pitch before yesterday’s Game 3 of the Japan Series between the Yomiuri Giants and Nippon Ham Fighters. He tossed a one-hopper to the plate and then watched the game in a private suite with Japanese home run king Sadaharu Oh and former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi.
* Mary J. Blige will sing the national anthem prior to Game 6 tonight in New York after Canadian-born Alanis Morissette did the honors before Game 5 in Philadelphia. Sadly, no one followed my advice to get Boyz II Men back to together.
* The cover of today’s New York Post has Pedro Martinez’s head superimposed on the body of a baby wearing a diaper. Seriously.

Rays acquire RHP Drew Smith from Tigers

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The Rays acquired minor league reliever Drew Smith from the Tigers on Friday, per a team announcement. The move will close the loop on the trade the two teams began in January for backup outfielder Mikie Mahtook.

Smith, 23, pitched his first full season in Single-A West Michigan in 2016, turning in a 2.96 ERA, 4.3 BB/9 and 11.5 SO/9 in 48 2/3 innings. The right-hander is still several levels away from making any impact on the Rays’ major league roster, but appears to be progressing steadily in two seasons of pro ball and has delivered two runs, four walks and 12 strikeouts in his first 11 2/3 innings at High-A Lakeland this season. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that he’ll be reassigned to the Rays’ High-A Charlotte this week.

Yankees activate Didi Gregorius from the disabled list

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The Yankees have activated shortstop Didi Gregorius from the 10-day disabled list, the club announced on Friday. Infielder Pete Kozma was designated for assignment to clear roster space.

Gregorius, 27, suffered a strained right shoulder while playing in the World Baseball Classic last month. He’s in Friday’s starting lineup, batting sixth against the Orioles.

Last season, Gregorius hit .276/.304/.447 with 20 home runs and 70 RBI in 597 plate appearances.