Diamondbacks prospect Jarrod Parker looking good one year after Tommy John surgery

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Brandon Webb failed to show his pre-surgery velocity while pitching in an instructional league game yesterday, but in the same game Diamondbacks prospect Jarrod Parker looked like his old self coming back from Tommy John elbow surgery.
Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that Parker “had no trouble dialing it up” and “hit 95 mph 10 times in two scoreless, hitless innings in which he struck out three and walked one.”
Afterward the ninth overall pick in the 2007 draft told Piecoro: “I feel like I did before surgery. I’d say I was pretty close to being back.”
Typically the recovery timetable for Tommy John surgery is 12-18 months and Parker went under the knife about 11 months ago. However, he’d only advanced to Double-A prior to the injury and new Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers indicated that the 22-year-old right-hander will likely be limited to 130-140 innings in 2011, saying: “My hope would be, if not at some point next year, then in 2012 this guy’s a big part of our starting rotation.”

Diamondbacks return Rule 5 pick Tyler Jones to Yankees

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Diamondbacks’ right-hander Tyler Jones is headed back to the Yankees, the teams announced on Friday. The Diamondbacks had previously selected Jones in the Rule 5 draft last December, but elected to leave the 27-year-old off of their 40-man roster heading into the 2017 season. Rule 5 draft rules stipulate that when a player is not kept on the receiving team’s roster, the player must be offered back to his original team.

Jones signed a minor league contract with the Yankees prior to the 2016 season. He pitched to an impressive 2.17 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 13.2 SO/9 over 45 2/3 innings with Double-A Trenton, but was unable to make the leap to Triple-A or beyond during his stay with the organization.

Jones’ outlook with the Diamondbacks appeared slightly more promising. GM Mike Hazen described the righty as a power arm with a “good fastball and power curveball” after selecting him in the Rule 5 draft, and early reports indicated that Jones would be in the mix for a bullpen spot. A rough spring performance — underscored by his lack of experience at the Triple-A and major league levels — undid most of that confidence, however, and the Diamondbacks weren’t willing to keep him on the active roster throughout the entire 2017 season in order to acquire his control rights.

Jones is set to open the season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, per a report from the Yankees.

Derek Norris signing with the Rays

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Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown reports that Derek Norris is signing with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Norris was released by the Nationals nine days ago, made redundant by the Nats’ signing of Matt Wieters and by everyone sliding down a notch on the depth chart below him. Norris hit only .186/.255/.328 with 14 home runs and a .528 OPS for the Padres in 2016.

Still, there always seems to be a place for a backup catcher. For Norris that place is Tampa Bay.