Mets sign Chris Capuano and Taylor Buchholz

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According to Kevin Burkhardt of SNY, the Mets added a pair of Tommy John survivors today by agreeing to one-year contracts with left-hander Chris Capuano and right-hander Taylor Buchholz.

Capuano, 32, returned from his second Tommy John surgery to post a 3.95 ERA and 54/21 K/BB ratio over 66 innings with the Brewers last season, including a 4.14 ERA over nine starts. It was his first appearance in the major leagues since 2007. The southpaw isn’t a hard thrower, but his velocity (87.4 mph) was at its highest since 2004. It’s not clear if the Mets will add another starter — Mike Puma of the New York Post hears this signing won’t stop them from pursuing other options — but he will presumably battle for a spot in the back end of the rotation during spring training.

Things didn’t go quite as swimmingly for Buchholz last season, as his comeback was sidetracked by back problems. He ended up posting a 3.75 ERA and 9/6 K/BB ratio over 12 innings between the Rockies and Blue Jays, averaging 89 mph on his fastball. Still, this is a guy who was a highly regarded prospect and posted a 2.17 ERA and 56/18 K/BB ratio over 66 1/3 innings with the Rockies back in 2008, so this is a worthwhile gamble for a bullpen that is considered a question mark.

The Mets also designated right-hander Ryota Igarashi for assignment. He was signed to a two-year, $3 million contract last winter, but posted a disappointing 7.12 ERA and 25/18 K/BB ratio over 30 1/3 innings in his first season stateside.

UPDATE: Capuano will earn a base salary of $1.5 million with the chance for more based on performance-based incentives. Buchholz’s deal is worth $600,000 and is not guaranteed.

Rob Manfred says Tampa Bay must pick up pace on new stadium

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred wants Tampa Bay to work a little quicker on getting the Rays a new ballpark.

Rays Principal Owner Stuart Sternberg has been working for nearly a decade to get a new stadium for the club and signed a three-year agreement with the City of St. Petersburg early in 2016 to search for a site in the Tampa Bay area. Manfred wants that search to pick up some steam.

“I think it’s fair to say we want the process to take on a better pace moving forward,” Manfred said Wednesday night at Tropicana Field, home of the Rays since their first season in 1998.

The Rays were averaging 15,815 fans per game before Wednesday night’s contest against the Toronto Blue Jays. That is just over half the major league average of 30,470. Tropicana Field and its location have been almost universally blamed as the reason for the poor attendance.

“I’ve been pretty clear that they need a new facility here, a major league quality facility in an A-plus location,” Manfred said. “It is time to move that decision to the front burner here in Tampa.”

The matter of how a stadium would be financed has been tabled until a site is determined, but Sternberg continued to express confidence in the Tampa Bay market.

“I’ve had the opportunity to bail on it many times over the years,” he said. “I won’t say this is a slam dunk, it’s certainly not. But I think we can do something that’ll at least double our attendance. That’s a lot to ask for.”

Manfred said Major League Baseball “doesn’t have a firm timetable” for what steps to take if the Rays fail to get an agreement to build a new stadium in the Tampa Bay area, but but added that “it is a topic of discussion in the industry, the lack of progress.”

More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

Robinson Cano leaves game with hamstring tightness

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Bad news for the Mariners this evening: Robinson Cano left Seattle’s game against the Atlanta Braves with tightness in his left hamstring.

Cano walked off the field after legging out a double — his second of the game — in the third inning. He pulled up as he approached second base and walked off the field, accompanied by a trainer. There was no immediate word on the severity of the injury. The Mariners have a day off Thursday before opening a series at the Yankees on Friday night, so they have some time to evaluate him.

Cano is hitting .277/.377/.460 with 19 homers and 78 RBI on the year.