Rays opt not to keep Hank Blalock for bench job

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Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times reports that the Rays have chosen Reid Brignac over Hank Blalock for their final bench spot, so Blalock “will assess his other major-league options for a few days” after saying earlier this week that he’d refuse an assignment to the minors.
Topkin speculates that Blalock “could end up at Triple-A Durham if he doesn’t find a better opportunity” and manager Joe Maddon noted that he’d be happy to keep the veteran in the organization as a possible in-season call-up.
Of course, Maddon also said “I really think he’s going to have a big year” moments after the team chose not to keep him around as a bench player, so who knows. Don’t expect Blalock to land a big-league job at this point, so whether it’s with the Rays or another team he’ll likely need a productive stint at Triple-A to re-surface in the majors.

Report: Royals sign Neftali Feliz

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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals have signed free agent reliever Neftali Feliz, pending a physical. The Brewers designated Feliz for assignment last week and released him on Monday.

Feliz, 29, opened the season as the Brewers’ closer, but struggled and was eventually taken out of the role in mid-May, giving way to Corey Knebel. In 29 appearances spanning 27 innings with the Brewers, Feliz posted a 6.00 ERA with a 21/15 K/BB ratio.

The Royals have had bullpen issues of their own, so Feliz will try to provide some stability given his track record. It’s not clear yet if the Royals want to let Feliz get his feet wet at Triple-A or throw him right into the bullpen mix.

Mets may move Asdrubal Cabrera to second base upon return from DL

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Newsday’s Marc Carig reports that the Mets may move Asdrubal Cabrera to second base when he returns from the disabled list. Cabrera has been on the disabled list since June 13 with a sprained left thumb, but he’s expected to be activated on Friday.

Cabrera, 31, last played second base in 2014 with the Nationals. He has played shortstop exclusively as a Met the last two seasons. Jose Reyes would continue to play shortstop if the Mets were to go through with the position change. Cabrera would displace T.J. Rivera, who has been playing second base in place of the injured Neil Walker.

In 196 plate appearances this season, Cabrera is hitting .244/.321/.392 with six home runs and 20 RBI. He has made 11 defensive errors, which is tied for the third-most among shortstops behind Tim Anderson (16) and Dansby Swanson (12).