Nick Swisher says no to "Sweet Caroline"

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Yes, it’s commerce, but ESPN’s commercials often stand out on their own.  The latest: Clay Buchholz, Nick Swisher and some dude sitting in a living room watching  a ballgame. Buchholz and the dude start singing “Sweet Caroline” and then try to throw it to Swisher, who responds with a “no way, dude.” You can see it here.  I’ll admit I chuckled. If they don’t run it into the ground and, instead, do lots of different ones including players of other teams I’ll consider it to be an enjoyable and inspired little campaign.

Still, it would have been better if Swisher had harangued the other two about just how stupid everyone singing “Sweet Caroline” is, followed by Buchholz going off on “Cotton Eyed Joe,” and the thing concluded with a knock-down, dragout fistfight that leaves both of them on the 60-day disabled list. Final shot: Tim Wakefield and Randy Winn laughing over their new full-time jobs.

Henderson Alvarez signs with Tigres de Quintana Roo

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Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.

The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.

That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.