Hideki Irabu announces retirement, again

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Hideki Irabu came out of retirement last season to pitch for the Long Beach Armada in the independent Golden Baseball League and looked decent enough to sign on with another independent league team in Japan.
Unfortunately his comeback was short-lived when a wrist injury led to his release and now the 40-year-old Irabu is retiring again. Presumably for good. “I’ve decided to retire and consider what to do next in my life,” said Irabu, who last pitched in the majors for the Rangers back in 2002.
Fun fact via Baseball-Reference.com: There have been 1,902 pitchers in MLB history to throw at least 500 innings and Irabu has the 38th-worst ERA at 5.15.

Blue Jays sign Danny Espinosa to minors deal

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Free agent middle infielder Danny Espinosa signed a minor-league deal with the Blue Jays, the team announced Saturday. The deal includes an invite to spring training, where Espinosa is scheduled for his first split-squad game against the Orioles this afternoon.

Espinosa, 30, was inked to another minor-league deal with the Yankees in January. The veteran infielder was competing for an infield job until the team picked up second baseman Neil Walker on a one-year, $4 million deal last Monday. Prior to his release, he slashed .160/.276/.320 with one home run through his first 12 games with the Yankees this spring. He didn’t fare much better in the majors last year, either, batting a cumulative .173/.245/.278 with six home runs and a .523 OPS in 295 PA for the Mariners and Rays.

Blue Jays starting shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is still dealing with a bone spur in his heel and has officially been ruled out for Opening Day, which could clear a path for Espinosa to claim a starting role in Toronto. Of course, he won’t be the only candidate under consideration — Yangervis Solarte and Aledmys Diaz are still in the mix as well, though no final decision appears to be made just yet.