MLB, Twitter, and 'strongly worded suggestions'

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As a follow-up to my MLB/Twitter report from earlier this week, I’m told that what I called a “ban” on MLB.com writers using their Twitter accounts for non-baseball topics was really more like “a strongly worded suggestion” (that every writer followed, since that’s what happens when your employer makes a strong suggestion). To me that sounds like semantics, but fair enough. My apologies for the overstatement.
As you may recall, however, an MLB spokesperson denied the entire premise of my report and told me they were “mystified” by the mere notion of any changes related to MLB.com writers and Twitter. Which is funny, since all the MLB.com writers received an e-mail memo with the “strongly worded suggestion” and several of them quickly created separate Twitter accounts as a result.
Also amusing given the whole “mystified” thing is that any tweets from MLB.com writers mentioning the Twitter-related changes were deleted yesterday, which seems odd if there’s nothing to the report and the whole thing is false. Anyway, this isn’t exactly an earth-shattering story and I’ll probably give it a rest now, but MLB denying the entire premise of something that’s clearly based in fact has been frustrating and strange.
Apparently the MLB spokesperson didn’t inform Mark Gonzalez of the Chicago Tribune that the whole thing was make believe, because he has this report today:

It turns out that the Twitter policy sent to each of the 30 Major League teams applies to non-uniformed personnel only. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said he didn’t receive an e-mail that was sent to front office members of every major league team. Sox third baseman Mark Teahen said he was informed of the Sox’s Twitter policy from a member of the Sox’s traveling party but didn’t realize the memo was for non-uniformed personnel only.

Setting aside the silliness of MLB denying the existence of something sent to 30 teams and every MLB.com writer, that news from Gonzalez is very positive in that managers like Ozzie Guillen and players like Mark Teahen aren’t subject to any “bans” or “strongly worded suggestions” or whatever you want to call it. We may have lost the ability to see the MLB.com writers’ personalities in between lineup postings, but at least Denard Span can still use Twitter to complain about umpiring.

Orioles re-sign Paul Janish to minor league deal

SARASOTA, FL - FEBRUARY 28:  Paul Janish #15 of the Baltimore Orioles poses during photo day at Ed Smith Stadium on February 28, 2016 in Sarasota, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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The Orioles signed free agent shortstop Paul Janish to another minor league deal on Saturday, reports Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. The contract includes an invite to spring training.

It’s hardly a surprising move for the Orioles, who have released and re-signed the 34-year-old infielder to multiple minor league deals over the past two years. A perennial Triple-A player, Janish slashed .242/.282/.303 with four doubles and a .585 OPS in two campaigns and 28 games with the Orioles. While he won’t be in line for a full-time role in the majors this season, he profiles as a solid defender and should give the team some infield depth alongside fellow veteran infielders Robert Andino, Johnny Giavotella and Chris Johnson.

Drew Smyly brings youth and experience to Mariners rotation

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PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) Trades don’t surprise Drew Smyly anymore.

At age 27, the Seattle Mariners left-hander has been dealt twice. The first swap sent him from the team that drafted and developed Smyly, the Detroit Tigers, to the Tampa Bay Rays in midseason 2014. That trade landed star pitcher David Price in Detroit.

“I was surprised by that one,” Smyly said.

The most recent trade involving him came in January, when the Rays shipped Smyly to Seattle for three prospects in one of many moves by Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto. Smyly immediately joined the Mariners’ projected starting rotation, and is having fun getting to know his new teammates at spring training by way of manager Scott Servais’ clubhouse icebreakers.

Servais thinks Smyly is a solid fit as a still young yet experienced pitcher.

“One, being where he’s at in his career age-wise and service time, he’s kind of at the point where, put him in the right environment … very good defensive outfield, he’s a fly ball guy, maybe he does step up and take the next step,” Servais said. “Getting out of the American League East certainly should help him, but there’s no guarantees. Our division’s pretty tough.”

Servais suggested that another Arkansas native, ex-big leaguer Cliff Lee, might have helped sell Seattle on Smyly. Lee is a former Mariner and the two share an agent.

Smyly went 7-12 in a career-high 30 starts last season in Tampa, but won five games from July 30 to the end of the season after starting out 2-11. From May 21 to July 18, he lost seven straight starts.

“Pitching’s tough, you know,” Smyly said. “To manipulate the ball, to make it do different things, to put it in the strike zone with hitters that know what they’re doing. … I just had a rough stretch but I show up at the field every day, play catch and work on my craft and you know, that’s going to turn around one day.”

The 32 home runs Smyly surrendered in 2016 figure to be reduced in Seattle’s pitcher-friendly Safeco Field.

“It can only help,” he said. “But it’s still going to be up to me to execute pitches and pitch well.”

Smyly is set to join the U.S. World Baseball Classic team shortly. Before that, he’ll make his first spring training start in the middle of next week.

“It’s an honor to be able to put your country on your chest and play with some of the guys on that team,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it big time.”

NOTES: Servais plans to roll out what figures to be Seattle’s opening day lineup in the spring training opener Saturday against San Diego. It’s OF Jarrod Dyson, SS Jean Segura, 2B Robinson Cano, DH Nelson Cruz, 3B Kyle Seager, OF Mitch Haniger, 1B Dan Vogelbach, C Mike Zunino and OF Leonys Martin. … Servais said Cano and Cruz will play a little more than is typical for early spring games, as the two will depart for the World Baseball Classic in early March. … LHP Ariel Miranda will start Saturday, then RHP Chris Heston Sunday, RHP Yovani Gallardo on Monday and ace Felix Hernandez on Tuesday.