Assistant GM Derek Jeter

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Derek Jeter told reporters last night that Brian Cashman picks his brain about potential transactions, and that Cashman tells free agents talking with the Yankees to call Jeter to answer any questions they may have about playing in New York.  I can totally see these conversations:

A.J. Burnett: So, Derek, what’s it like playing in New York?

Jeter: Oh, it’s awesome. I have no complaints.

Burnett: What about the media? I hear they can be kind of tough.

Jeter: No, they’re great. They only write nice stuff. It’s like having a P.R. agency at your disposal.

Burnett: But the fans. They boo their own sometimes . . .

Jeter: Really?

I guess what I’m saying is that having Jeter be the free agent ombudsman is sorta like being the new kid at school and having the prom queen — who also happens to be the class president and valedictorian — showing you around on your first day. It’s nice to have the input, I guess, but you may not be getting the most useful orientation possible.

Yankees sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 17:  Jonathon Niese #49 of the New York Mets delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 17, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
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Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.

According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.

Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.

Tigers to give Omar Infante some work in center field this spring

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 11:  Omar Infante #4 of the Detroit Tigers follows through on an RBI single scoring Prince Fielder #28 during the eighth inning against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field  on September 11, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)
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Veteran Omar Infante has spent the overwhelming majority of his career as an infielder, but the Tigers plan to give him some playing time in center field this spring. The Tigers’ center field situation is still murky and adding more versatility would increase Infante’s odds of making the roster.

Infante, 35, signed a minor league deal with the Tigers in December. He played 39 games for the Royals last season, batting .239/.279/.321 in 149 plate appearances while playing second base exclusively. Infante last played in the outfield in 2010 with the Braves, and last played center field specifically in ’09 with the Braves.

The Tigers currently have Mikie Mahtook, Tyler Collins, and JaCoby Jones at the top of their center field depth chart. It is not what one would call “optimal.”