Bummer: Harmon Killebrew won’t be throwing out the first pitch in Minnesota on Friday

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There was word earlier this week that Harmon Killebrew — who has been battling esophageal cancer — was going to throw the first pitch out at the Twins’ home opener on Friday. Now it seems that he won’t make it due because he doesn’t want to interrupt his treatment schedule. Tony Oliva will do the honors in his place, with Killebrew’s grandson catching.

Apologies if I sound like an emotional spaz about this, but this kind of makes me worry. I’m guessing the treatment schedule has been in place a while, including when he first agreed to throw the pitch. He says that his treatment is going well and he hopes to make a full recovery. I hope that’s true and this doesn’t mean that his health won’t permit him to travel to Minnesota.

Sorry. I just have an irrational love of Harmon Killebrew, built mostly on the power of baseball cards I had when I was a kid and stories I’ve heard people who have had the privilege to know him well have told me. I’m going to be a bit more wobbly with him than I might be with other ex-ballplayers.

Get well soon, Harmon.

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.