Strasburg strong in return from injury

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Making his first Arizona Fall League start in 12 days, Nationals prospect Stephen Strasburg blanked the Peoria Saguaros over 3 1/3 innings on Saturday, allowing just one hit while striking out six and walking two.



Strasburg tossed 36 of 64 pitches
for strikes while his fastball was clocked as high as 99 mph. The
20-year-old was scheduled to pitch last Saturday’s “Rising Stars Game,”
but was scratched after suffering a stiff neck.




“It was a good day. My goal was just to go out there and pound it in the strike zone,” Strasburg said.



Strasburg’s 4.26 ERA over 19 innings
might not jump out at you, but take out one hiccup against Peoria on
October 22 (seven runs allowed in 2 2/3 innings) and he is a much more
impressive 4-0 with a 1.10 ERA. Strasburg’s four wins lead the AFL,
while his 23 strikeouts in 19 innings ranks third.




While Strasburg was denied the stage
of the “Rising Stars Game,” his next start will most likely come in
next Saturday’s AFL championship game. Strasburg’s team, the Phoenix
Desert Dogs, have a four-game lead on the Eastern division title with
five games left on the docket.

Angels sign Eric Young, Jr. to a minor league contract

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 11:  Eric Young Jr. #4 of the Atlanta Braves slides safely into third base on a RBI triple in the fifth inning against the New York Mets during the Braves opening series at Turner Field on April 11, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia.  Andrelton Simmons #19 scored on the triple.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have inked outfielder Eric Young, Jr. to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Young, 31, played in just six games and logged one plate appearance in the majors this past season with the Yankees. He last played regularly in 2014. While Young doesn’t do much with the bat, he could provide value as a pinch-runner. He also offers versatility, having played all three outfield positions along with second base.

The Angels have Ben Revere as their fourth outfielder and Jefry Marte behind him, so Young would need to have a very impressive showing in spring training to find a spot on the Angels’ roster.

Report: Blue Jays close to a deal with Jarrod Saltalamacchia

TORONTO, CANADA - JULY 9: Jarrod Saltalamacchia #39 of the Detroit Tigers hits an RBI single in the fourth inning during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays on July 9, 2016 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
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Update (5:20 PM EST): It’s a minor league contract, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. If he makes the major league roster, Saltalamacchia will earn $1.25 million with an additional $250,000 available through incentives.

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The Blue Jays are close to a deal with free agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet is reporting.

Saltalamacchia, 31, hit a meager .171/.284/.346 with 12 home runs and 38 RBI in 292 plate appearances with the Tigers this past season. With Russell Martin getting regular playing time behind the plate, Saltalamacchia will serve as his understudy, pushing A.J. Jimenez and Juan Graterol down on the depth chart.

The veteran catcher isn’t far removed from being a productive backstop. He had an .805 OPS in 70 games with the Diamondbacks in 2015 and also helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2013 with an .804 OPS in 121 games.