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.

Cubs place Ben Zobrist on 10-day disabled list with back soreness

Ben Zobrist
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Cubs infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with back soreness. The move is retroactive to April 14. While it doesn’t appear to be the precursor to any serious injury, Zobrist has already missed six straight days of activity after feeling his back tighten up last weekend. Should he see the minimum time on the DL, as expected, he’ll be eligible to return by the start of the Cubs’ series against the Indians on Tuesday.

Prior to his injury, the 36-year-old outfielder raked an impressive .326/.408/.465 with three extra-base hits in 49 plate appearances. He last appeared for the Cubs during their homestand last weekend and helped propel the team to a 14-10 win over the Braves with three hits, two walks and two RBI. Provided that he can remain healthy going forward, it’s a promising start for the veteran outfielder, who has yet to return to the All-Star-worthy numbers he posted with the club in 2016.

With Zobrist sidelined for the time being, Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr. have shared the leadoff spot and center field duties over the last week. Happ went 0-for-8 with six strikeouts in two games before passing the baton to Almora, who collected five hits and two RBI in 11 at-bats.