Todd Wellemeyer announces retirement from baseball

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Todd Wellemeyer was drafted by the Cubs in the fourth round of the 2000 June MLB Amateur Draft and spent six years in the organization. He served primarily as a starter while in the minor leagues but shifted to the bullpen once the Cubs gave him a spot on their 25-man roster.

Wellemeyer moved on from Chicago in 2006 and spent time in different roles with the Marlins, Royals, Cardinals and Giants before re-signing with the Cubs on a minor league contract this winter.

On Saturday, according to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com, Wellemeyer officially announced his retirement from baseball at the age of 32.

He was hoping to take advantage of the Cubs’ shaky rotation depth and climb his way back to the major leagues, but the right-hander allowed eight hits and four earned runs over just 3 2/3 innings Thursday at Triple-A Iowa and apparently took that as a sign that the game had passed him by.

Wellemeyer will finish up with a 4.83 career ERA, a 1.51 WHIP and 459 strikeouts in 614 2/3 innings.

Diamondbacks return Rule 5 pick Tyler Jones to Yankees

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Diamondbacks’ right-hander Tyler Jones is headed back to the Yankees, the teams announced on Friday. The Diamondbacks had previously selected Jones in the Rule 5 draft last December, but elected to leave the 27-year-old off of their 40-man roster heading into the 2017 season. Rule 5 draft rules stipulate that when a player is not kept on the receiving team’s roster, the player must be offered back to his original team.

Jones signed a minor league contract with the Yankees prior to the 2016 season. He pitched to an impressive 2.17 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 13.2 SO/9 over 45 2/3 innings with Double-A Trenton, but was unable to make the leap to Triple-A or beyond during his stay with the organization.

Jones’ outlook with the Diamondbacks appeared slightly more promising. GM Mike Hazen described the righty as a power arm with a “good fastball and power curveball” after selecting him in the Rule 5 draft, and early reports indicated that Jones would be in the mix for a bullpen spot. A rough spring performance — underscored by his lack of experience at the Triple-A and major league levels — undid most of that confidence, however, and the Diamondbacks weren’t willing to keep him on the active roster throughout the entire 2017 season in order to acquire his control rights.

Jones is set to open the season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, per a report from the Yankees.

Derek Norris signing with the Rays

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Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown reports that Derek Norris is signing with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Norris was released by the Nationals nine days ago, made redundant by the Nats’ signing of Matt Wieters and by everyone sliding down a notch on the depth chart below him. Norris hit only .186/.255/.328 with 14 home runs and a .528 OPS for the Padres in 2016.

Still, there always seems to be a place for a backup catcher. For Norris that place is Tampa Bay.