A’s try Futures Game MVP Grant Green in center field

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Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus reports that A’s prospect Grant Green has been shifted from shortstop to center field at Double-A Midland tonight and that it’s more than a one-day experiment.

The move makes plenty of sense.  Green, a 2009 first-round pick, has long appeared ticketed for second base, but the A’s seem to have a long-term solution there in Jemile Weeks.  Green doesn’t have the lateral range to last at shortstop for the long haul, but he has enough raw speed to perhaps stick in center field for a few years.  It’s worth trying before putting him at third base or in left field, where he’d have to be a bigger offensive threat to make it as a regular.

Green, 23, was the MVP as the U.S. team beat the World squad in Sunday’s Futures Game, but he’s had something of a disappointing season, having hit .284/.347.395 with just four homers and a 74/30 K/BB ratio in 324 at-bats in the Texas League.  Last year, he hit .318/363/.520 with 20 homers in the California League.

The move to center won’t get Green to the majors this year.  The best-case scenario has him forcing his way into Oakland’s plans with a couple of strong months in Triple-A at the beginning of next season.

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.