Blue Jays ink Yunel Escobar to two-year, $10M extension

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Danny Knobler of CBS Sports passes along word that the Blue Jays have agreed to terms on a two-year, $10 million contract extension with shortstop Yunel Escobar. The new deal also carries $5 million club options for 2014 and 2015.

Escobar was arbitration-eligible for the first time in his career this past winter and scored $2.9 million in salary for 2011. The new contract will buy out his remaining arbitration seasons and potentially his first two years of free agency, all at a reasonable price.

Escobar, a 28-year-old native of Cuba, has posted a cool .281/.359/.431 batting line with eight homers and 26 RBI in 66 games this season. He also has a strong defensive reputation at the shortstop position.

The Jays acquired Escobar last summer in a five-player trade with the Braves involving Alex Gonzalez.

Rays acquire RHP Drew Smith from Tigers

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The Rays acquired minor league reliever Drew Smith from the Tigers on Friday, per a team announcement. The move will close the loop on the trade the two teams began in January for backup outfielder Mikie Mahtook.

Smith, 23, pitched his first full season in Single-A West Michigan in 2016, turning in a 2.96 ERA, 4.3 BB/9 and 11.5 SO/9 in 48 2/3 innings. The right-hander is still several levels away from making any impact on the Rays’ major league roster, but appears to be progressing steadily in two seasons of pro ball and has delivered two runs, four walks and 12 strikeouts in his first 11 2/3 innings at High-A Lakeland this season. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that he’ll be reassigned to the Rays’ High-A Charlotte this week.

Yankees activate Didi Gregorius from the disabled list

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The Yankees have activated shortstop Didi Gregorius from the 10-day disabled list, the club announced on Friday. Infielder Pete Kozma was designated for assignment to clear roster space.

Gregorius, 27, suffered a strained right shoulder while playing in the World Baseball Classic last month. He’s in Friday’s starting lineup, batting sixth against the Orioles.

Last season, Gregorius hit .276/.304/.447 with 20 home runs and 70 RBI in 597 plate appearances.