Casey Blake “expected to miss minimal time” with back injury

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Casey Blake underwent a “precautionary” MRI exam on his injured back and the results showed lower thoracic spine inflammation, with Tony Jackson of ESPNLA.com reporting that “he’s expected to miss minimal time.”

There’s no timetable yet for his return, but Blake reported feeling some improvement yesterday and is officially listed as day-to-day.

Blake struggled with back problems for a big chunk of last season as well, so the 37-year-old certainly isn’t out of the woods yet. Should he miss significant time the obvious replacement is Jamey Carroll, although he may play second base with Juan Uribe shifting to third base.

Diamondbacks sign Kris Medlen and Antonio Bastardo to minor-league deals

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Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Arizona Diamondbacks have signed pitchers Kris Medlen and Antonio Bastardo to minor-league deals. Medlen will make $1.1 million if he breaks camp with the Snakes. Bastardo will earn at $1.5 million if he makes the team.

Medlen hasn’t pitched in the bigs since 2016 and hasn’t pitched effectively in the bigs since 2013 due to multiple Tommy John surgeries and, more recently, shoulder ailments. Last year he put up a 4.95 ERA in 20 games in the Braves’ minor league system. If he’s healthy he could be a depth guy for the Dbacks in the event one of their big league starters go down.

Bastardo pitched in nine games, ineffectively, for the Pirates before being released last season. He didn’t catch on anywhere else after that so, hey, I guess he’s fresh?