Nationals unlikely to sign draft pick who made racist tweets

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Zach Houchins, the Nationals’ 15th-round pick in the 2011 draft who created a bit of a stir when a fanblog highlighted some very unflattering tweets, hasn’t heard from the team in months and is highly unlikely to sign a contract prior to the Aug. 15 deadline.

Houchins, a shortstop from a North Carolina juco, apologized to the Nationals back in June, but hasn’t had any contact with the team since, MLB.com’s Bill Ladson reports.

“I called [the Nationals]. I apologized to Mr. Roy Clark [the team’s assistant general manager]. I apologized to him for what was said on Twitter,” Houchins said. “[Clark said], ‘Yeah, anything you said on Twitter was completely unacceptable.’ I understood where he was coming from. That was pretty much the conversation.”

Houchins indicated he plans to return to Louisburg College and try to improve his draft stock for next year.

Report: Momentum in talks between Mariners, Jon Jay

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MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that there is some momentum in talks between the Mariners and free agent outfielder Jon Jay.

Jay, 32, hit .296/.374/.375 in 433 plate appearances with the Cubs last season, which is adequate. He’s heralded more for his defense and his ability to play all three outfield spots.

The Mariners are losing center fielder Jarrod Dyson to free agency and likely don’t want to rely on Guillermo Heredia next season, hence the interest in Jay. The free agent class for center fielders is otherwise relatively weak.