Mets close to signing Japanese reliever Igarashi

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David Waldstein of the New York Times reports that the Mets are close to signing Japanese pitcher Ryota Igarashi to a two-year contract.
Igarashi is a 30-year-old right-handed reliever who has pitched for the Yakult Swallows since 1999. He saved 37 games in 2004, but has primarily been a setup man since, posting a 2.87 ERA and 86 strikeouts in 97.1 innings over the past two seasons after missing all of 2007 following Tommy John surgery.
Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker put together a detailed scouting report on Igarashi, including the fact that he’s one of Japan’s hardest throwers with a fastball that reaches the upper-90s. According to Newman he also features a hard splitter with the occasional slider, but has spotty control. No word yet on the monetary details, but based on his track record, stuff, and the two-year deal it looks like the Mets view Igarashi as a late-inning setup option in front of closer Francisco Rodriguez.

Felix Hernandez will miss 3-4 weeks with shoulder bursitis

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Mariners’ right-hander Felix Hernandez is looking at a 3-4 week recovery period, the team announced on Friday. Hernandez has been officially diagnosed with bursitis in his right shoulder after getting pulled from his last start against the Tigers on Tuesday.

It’s not the first shoulder issue the 31-year-old righty has dealt with during his career. Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times notes that Hernandez was previously diagnosed with bursitis during a minor league stint in 2005, several weeks prior to making his major league start for Seattle. This time around, however, the injury is coupled with a few years of not-so-sharp stuff, waning velocity and career-low numbers, and while it’s certainly not a worst-case diagnosis, it seems like greater cause for concern.

Without Felix, the Mariners will keep rolling with James Paxton, Hisashi Iwakuma, Ariel Miranda, Yovani Gallardo and Chase De Jong in their rotation. They’ll also keep Ben Gamel in right field, with starting right fielder Mitch Haniger expected to miss 3-4 weeks after sustaining a Grade 2 strain in his right oblique on Tuesday.

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.