Yankees stepping up pursuit of Andruw Jones

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It would appear that super agent Scott Boras is close to finding a home for veteran client Andruw Jones.

The Yankees were first linked to Jones last week by SI.com’s Jon Heyman and now the Sports Illustrated reporter is saying that the Bombers have “stepped up” their pursuit of the 33-year-old.

Jones isn’t as great defensively as he once was and he is no longer the type of guy you want playing in 160-plus games, but he has his uses.

The Yankees could try him as their designated hitter from time to time against left-handed pitchers and could have him serve as a backup to both corner outfield spots.  His still steady power bat would shine in the smaller ballparks of the American League East, at least on a limited basis, and he wouldn’t have trouble covering ground defensively at Yankee Stadium.

The Rays are also thought to be interested and may be able to offer more playing time.

Check out Minute Maid Park without Tal’s Hill

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During the offseason, the Astros finally got rid of Tal’s Hill in center field. It was a throwback to older stadiums, some of which had uneven topography — Crosley Field, namely. As unique as it was in the age of cookie cutter sports stadiums, most of us were holding our collective breaths hoping no one ruptured an Achilles or suffered another brutal injury trying to navigate the hill while attempting to catch a fly ball.

We saw what it looked like during reconstruction:

And now, via Julia Morales of ROOT Sports, we see what it looks like after all the work has been done:

The Astros are allowing fans with Lexus Field Club tickets to stand on the new warning track to watch batting practice and shag fly balls as well, Morales notes. Lexus Field Club is where Tal’s Hill used to be.

Good riddance, Tal’s Hill.

Jhoulys Chacin will start Opening Day for the Padres

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Jhoulys Chacin will start on Opening Day, April 3 against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. It will be Chacin’s second Opening Day start, the other coming in 2013 with the Rockies against the Brewers. He’ll be the fifth different Padres pitcher in as many years to start on Opening Day.

Chacin, 29, inked a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Padres in December. The right-hander spent the 2016 season with the Braves and Angels, compiling an aggregate 4.81 ERA with a 119/55 K/BB ratio in 144 innings.

Lin notes that Chacin will be followed in the rotation by Clayton Richard and Jered Weaver. It will be an interesting rotation, to say the least, as it will arguably be the worst in baseball.