Rays release Jose Julio Ruiz five months after signing him

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In early June the Rays signed Cuban first baseman Jose Julio Ruiz to a minor-league contract that included a unique stipulation where they had to decide by mid-November whether to give him a four-year, $4 million deal or let him go.

At the time of the initial signing Ruiz was viewed as a solid prospect and potential replacement for free agent Carlos Pena at first base, but today the Rays declined their option and released the 26-year-old.

Ruiz is 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, hit just .272 with one homer and a .706 OPS in 23 games at Double-A despite being old for the level of competition

Danny Duffy exits spring training game with left shoulder tightness

Danny Duffy
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Royals’ Opening Day starter Danny Duffy weathered a minor scare during Saturday’s Cactus League game against the Diamondbacks. The left-hander was removed from his final spring training start after experiencing some left shoulder tightness in the second and third innings. No lasting damage appears to have been done — Duffy told reporters that he simply felt a slight ache, nothing more — and it looks like he’ll remain on track to open the season with the team next Thursday.

The 29-year-old southpaw is coming off one of his best performances to date. Despite losing a few weeks to an oblique strain and elbow soreness, he went 9-10 in 24 starts and finished the 2017 season with a 3.81 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 146 1/3 innings. While Duffy entered camp with a clean bill of health, he struggled to execute against his spring training opponents and racked up 13 runs, four homers, seven walks and 11 strikeouts in 13 innings of Cactus League play.

The Royals are scheduled to kick off their home opener against the White Sox on Thursday, March 29 at 4:15 PM ET. Barring any further complications with his shoulder, Duffy will take the mound for the Royals, while James Shields is expected to make his first Opening Day appearance for the White Sox.