Unable to contact parents in Japan, Takashi Saito leaves Brewers camp

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Takashi Saito has been unable to get in touch with his parents in Japan following last night’s massive earthquake, so the veteran reliever has left Brewers camp after asking the team for an indefinite leave of absence.

Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports that Saito was able to contact his wife and three children, and teammates like Prince Fielder encouraged Saito to take as much time away from the team as he needs.

Saito was born and attended college in Sendai, where the 8.9 magnitude earthquake hit.

UPDATE: Good news, via McCalvy: Saito’s family is “safe and accounted for.”

Tigers sign Edwin Espinal to minor league deal

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Free agent first baseman Edwin Espinal has signed a minor league deal with the Tigers, the infielder announced Saturday. The move has yet to be confirmed by the team.

Espinal, 23, capped a seven-year run with the Pirates’ minor league affiliates in 2017. He split his season between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis, batting a cumulative .294/.327/.447 with 15 home runs and 31 doubles in 532 plate appearances. While he’s raked at nearly every level so far, he also profiles well on defense, and rounded off his 2017 performance with a perfect fielding percentage, 208 putouts and a Gold Glove award.

Espinal is untested at the major league level and it’s not yet clear if he’ll make the jump in 2018. He showed some positional versatility during his time in the minors, however, and could take reps at third base or DH if necessary. The Tigers are reportedly on the lookout for pitching depth and left-handed bats — two bills the right-handed Espinal doesn’t fit — and presumably have a lot of moves left to make this winter.