Friday's minor moves: Rangers, Dodgers, Marlins

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Rangers claimed infielder Joe Inglett off waivers from the Blue Jays.
Inglett, 31, played a key role of the 2008 Jays, but he spent most of last season back in the minors, as the team preferred the right-handed-hitting Jose Bautista in the spot the lefty-swinging Inglett could have occupied. He’s a career .293/.349/.396 hitter in 639 at-bats, but since he can’t play shortstop and he’s below average at second base, he’s had a difficult time establishing himself. He’d make plenty of sense as a 25th man for a Rangers team that will rarely if ever take its second and third basemen out of the lineup.
Dodgers signed RHP Justin Miller to a minor league contract and invited him to spring training.
Miller likely would have gotten a major league deal had he not injured his elbow late in the year and required surgery. He had a 3.18 ERA in 56 2/3 innings for the Giants last season. Still, his peripherals suggest it was a fluke. He possesses a nice slider, but his fastball isn’t what it used to be and he’s always walked a few too many guys. The minor league contract was appropriate.
Brewers signed outfielder Trent Oeltjen to a minor league contract and invited him to spring training.
Oeltjen, a 26-year-old out of Australia, was a brief sensation for the Diamondbacks last season, going 12-for-24 with three homers, a triple and two doubles in his first five major league games. Unfortunately, he went 5-for-46 the rest of the way and was dropped from the 40-man roster at season’s end. Oeltjen is a quality defender in an outfield corner and a left-handed hitter, so he has a shot at a career as a bench player. Still, there’s no clear strength to his game that’s going to help carry him. The Brewers figure to have him start out at Triple-A.
Orioles re-signed catcher Chad Moeller to a minor league contract and invited him to spring training.
Moeller looked around for a guaranteed deal, but he couldn’t find one. He hit .258/.313/.438 in 89 at-bats while backing up Matt Wieters last season, and he’ll probably be the favorite to hold the job next year, though Craig Tatum and Michel Hernandez will get a chance to compete.
Marlins signed RHP Jesse Foppert, RHP John Fulton, RHP Kasey Olenberger, INF-OF Hector Luna, INF Vinny Rottino and OF Brandon Tripp to minor league contracts.
Olenberger, Luna and Rottino received invitations to spring training. Olenberger, 31, is being re-signed after posting a 1.10 ERA in 65 2/3 innings for the Marlins’ Double-A club last season. It’s surprising he opted to stick around, given that the Marlins called up all kinds of pitchers last season yet never gave him a second thought.
Luna, 29, batted .351/.414/.610 in 313 at-bats for the Dodgers’ Triple-A club in Las Vegas last season. If only he kept himself in better shape, he’d be in the middle of a fine career as a utilityman. As is, he’s too poor of an infielder to be of real use.
Foppert is still kicking around after all this time. The one-time elite prospect hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2005. He had a 6.27 ERA in eight starts and two relief appearances for the Giants’ Double-A affiliate last season.

Julio Urias is on his way back to the majors

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 27:  Julio Urias #78 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches against the New York Mets during their game at Citi Field on May 27, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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Dodgers 19-year-old rookie Julio Urias is coming back to the majors and Alex Wood is headed to the 15-day disabled list with left elbow soreness, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. Urias will likely start Saturday against the Braves, which will mark his debut in front of the home crowd.

Urias made his major league debut on Friday against the Mets at Citi Field, but lasted only 2 2/3 innings. He yielded three runs on five hits and four walks with three strikeouts.

Urias came into the season rated as the Dodgers’ #1 prospect and the #2 overall prospect in baseball. Prior to his promotion, he had compiled a 1.10 ERA with 44 strikeouts and eight walks over 41 innings with Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Mookie Betts enjoys a three-homer game against the Orioles

BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 31: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox follows his three run homer against the Baltimore Orioles in the second inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 31, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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The Red Sox seem to have hit the jackpot on all of their young players so far this year. Jackie Bradley, Jr. just had a 29-game hitting streak snapped. Xander Bogaerts extended his hitting streak to 24 games on Tuesday night. And Mookie Betts has been quite productive batting leadoff for the Red Sox this year, entering Tuesday with an even .800 OPS.

Betts, 23, hit 18 home runs in his first full season last year. With a three-homer night against the Orioles on Tuesday, he’s already up to 12 in 2016 with four months of season left. The first was of the solo variety, a line drive to center field off of Kevin Gausman in the first inning. Betts followed up in the third with a liner to left field for a three-run dinger off of Gausman. He made it three in the seventh, drilling a Dylan Bundy offering to right field.

Here’s video of homer number two:

Betts finished 3-for-5 as the Red Sox won 6-2 at Camden Yards.

The stats show the Pirates as an outlier in throwing “headhunter” pitches

ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 5: Reliever Arquimedes Caminero #37 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the seventh inning at Busch Stadium on September 5, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Last week at ESPN Sweetspot’s Inside the Zona, Ryan Morrison looked into the data and found that the Pirates stand out among the rest when it comes to throwing “headhunter” pitches. Those are defined as fastballs 3.2 feet or higher and 1.2 feet towards the batter from the center of the plate.

The research was prompted because Diamondbacks second baseman Jean Segura was hit in the helmet by Pirates reliever Arquimedes Caminero last Tuesday in the seventh inning. The next inning, Caminero hit shortstop Nick Ahmed in the jaw with a pitch and was instantly ejected.

Morrison illustrated the data in a nice chart, which you should check out. The Pirates have thrown 93 of those pitches, which is way more than any other team. The next closest team is the Reds at 68 pitches. The major league average is approximately 48 pitches.

The Pirates have had an organizational philosophy of pitching inside since at least 2013, as MLB.com’s Tom Singer quoted manager Clint Hurdle as saying, “We’re not trying to hurt people, just staying in with conviction.”

Morrison goes on to suggest that the Diamondbacks should have forfeited last Wednesday and Thursday’s games against the Pirates in protest, out of concern for their players’ safety. As it happened, the D-Backs lost both games anyway, suffering a series sweep. The two clubs don’t meet again this season.

D-Backs manager Chip Hale said after last Tuesday’s game that Caminero “shouldn’t be at this level”. Caminero responded to those comments today, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. “I’m actually glad you asked me about that,” Caminero said. “The only thing I’ve got to say about (Hale) is that he is a perfect manager. And he was a perfect player, too. That’s it. I know what I did wasn’t good, but it happens in baseball. I wasn’t trying to hit anyone.”

I realize I’m late on pointing out Morrison’s terrific article and the whole debacle between the two teams, but I felt it was worth highlighting.

Jose Bautista: “I’d be stupid to leave” Toronto

TORONTO, CANADA - MAY 29: Jose Bautista #19 of the Toronto Blue Jayshits a two-run home run in the fifth inning during MLB game action against the Boston Red Sox on May 29, 2016 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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Also included in a recent report on Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista by Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated — along with his belief that Rougned Odor was the only bad guy in the May 15 debacle — was the slugger’s desire to remain a Blue Jay. Per Verducci, Bautista said, “I love the city. I’d be stupid to leave” Toronto.

Bautista, 35, is in the final year of a five-year, $65 million extension signed in February 2011. Back in November, the Jays exercised their 2016 club option for $14 million. Bautista isn’t willing to discuss contract details during the season, so the two sides will have to wait until at least October to come to an agreement.

Entering Tuesday’s game against the Yankees, Bautista is hitting .237/.371/.489 with 11 home runs, 37 RBI, and 40 walks, the latter of which leads the American League.