Pirates have the answer: Ryan Church

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Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that the Pirates have agreed to terms on a contract with outfielder Ryan Church, a free agent who played just 111 games last season as he battled back problems.

The signing is contingent on Church passing a physical, which will come later his week. This isn’t a huge signing but it’s the Pirates, so what did you expect?

Besides, the team has already taken a much more important step in ending their 17-year run of losing seasons, the hiring of a “Mental Conditioning Coordinator.”

Straight to the top, Pirates. Straight to the top.

David Phelps to undergo Tommy John surgery

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Pitcher David Phelps has a torn UCL and will undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his 2018 season, the Mariners announced on Wednesday. Phelps was making brief one-inning stints in the Cactus League as he worked his way back from a procedure to remove a bone spur from his elbow last September. He said he felt the ligament tear on his final pitch against the Angels in his March 17 appearance.

Phelps, 31, was expected to set up for closer Edwin Diaz. The right-hander, between the Marlins and Mariners last season, posted a 3.40 ERA with a 62/26 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. He and the Mariners avoided arbitration in January, agreeing on a $5.55 million salary for the 2018 campaign. Phelps will become eligible to become a free agent at the end of the season.

As the Mariners noted in their statement, the expected recovery period for Tommy John surgery is 12-15 months, so this very likely cuts into Phelps’ 2019 season as well.