Jonathan Albaladejo signs to play in Japan

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Jonathan Albaladejo has signed a one-year, $950,000 contract with the Yomiuri Giants of Japan’s Central League, according to the Associated Press.

Albaladejo was released by the Yankees earlier this month after he informed the team about his plans to play in Japan.

The 28-year-old right-hander originally came over from the Nationals in the Tyler Clippard trade in December of 2007. He posted a 4.70 ERA in 49 relief appearances with the Yankees, including a 3.97 ERA and 8/8 K/BB ratio over 11 1/3 innings at the big league level this past season. Albaladejo spent most of the year as the closer with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, posting a 1.42 ERA, 43 saves and an 82/18 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings.

He probably deserved better with the Bombers, especially during his transformation this past season, but some success in Japan should afford him another opportunity in the big leagues.

Tim Tebow homered in his first at-bat with Single-A St. Lucie

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Mets minor league outfielder and former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow was recently promoted from Single-A Columbia to advanced Single-A St. Lucie. Critics suggested that, because Tebow wasn’t exactly lighting up competition with Columbia, the promotion was just about marketing.

Tebow, to his credit, has gotten off to a good start with St. Lucie. In his first at-bat with his new team, he hit a two-run home run, turning a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead. The home run came on a 3-1 count against starter Junior Fernandez of the Palm Beach Cardinals. Fernandez is the Cardinals’ No. 10 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.

With Columbia, Tebow was hitting a paltry .220/.311/.336 with three home runs and 23 RBI in 244 plate appearances.

Cardinals option Aledmys Diaz to Triple-A

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The Cardinals announced on Wednesday that shortstop Aledmys Diaz has been optioned to Triple-A Memphis and infielder Alex Mejia’s contract has been purchased from Memphis.

Diaz, 26, impressed last season when he posted an .879 OPS and finished fifth in National League Rookie of the Year balloting. This year has been rough on Diaz, as he’s batting .260/.293/.396 with seven home runs and 20 RBI in 288 plate appearances. He’s the second major Cardinals player to get sent down to the minors along with Randal Grichuk.

Diaz was surprised by the demotion. Via MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch:

Mejia, 26, opened the season with Double-A Springfield but was promoted to Triple-A two weeks ago. With Springfield, he hit .251/.305/.366 in 251 PA. In 42 PA with Memphis, he hit .263/.333/.289.