Report: Pirates sign Matt Diaz to a two-year contract

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According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, Matt Diaz has agreed to a two-year contract with the Pirates. Terms aren’t yet available.

Diaz, who turns 33 in March, was non-tendered by the Braves last week after batting .250/.302/.438 with seven home runs and 31 RBI over 224 at-bats this past season. He reportedly drew interest from several teams in free agency, including the the Yankees, Diamondbacks, Red Sox, Dodgers, Mariners and Blue Jays, among others.

Diaz has a .337 career batting average and 907 OPS against left-handed pitching, so he is best utilized as part of a platoon, but it’s not clear how the Pirates intend to use him. Andrew McCutchen and Jose Tabata are everyday players, so he’ll likely share playing time with Garrett Jones, who bats from the left side of the plate.

Erasmo Ramirez to be shut down with a minor lat strain

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Mariners right-hander Erasmo Ramirez has been shut down for two weeks with a minor lat strain, reports Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. It’s a precautionary move, as Ramirez felt some tightness in his arm and could not complete his scheduled bullpen session on Saturday.

There’s no word yet on whether Ramirez will be able to recover in time for the start of the season, though he’s expected to claim a rotation spot again this spring. The 28-year-old righty has been dogged by injuries throughout his six-year career, but finally managed to piece together a full season on the mound in back-to-back stints with the Rays and Mariners in 2017. He went 5-6 in 19 starts for the two clubs and turned in a cumulative 4.39 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 through 131 1/3 innings.

The Mariners are no stranger to pitcher injuries, either. They lost a number of their top arms to various elbow, arm and shoulder injuries last year and cycled through 40 total pitchers as they limped toward a 78-84 finish. Comments from club manager Scott Servais indicate that the team will keep a close eye on Ramirez throughout his recovery, though Divish notes that right-hander Andrew Moore and lefty Ariel Miranda could also slot into the no. 5 spot if Ramirez experiences further setbacks.