Jake Westbrook underwent surgery on non-throwing shoulder

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Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that free agent-to-be Jake Westbrook underwent surgery “to repair a small tear” in his left, non-throwing shoulder shortly after the regular season ended.
According to Goold the surgery was performed by Dr. James Andrews within the past 10 days and came after Westbrook pitched through the injury for much of the season, including going 4-4 with a 3.48 ERA in 12 starts following a trade to the Cardinals on July 31.
Westbrook will officially become a free agent after the World Series and the surgery shouldn’t have a big impact on his status for 2011. He previously expressed interest in re-signing with the Cardinals and general manager John Mozeliak seemed open to the idea as well. St. Louis will have five days to negotiate exclusively with Westbrook after he hits the open market, although the Cardinals are also free to work something out with him in the meantime.

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.