Rangers planning Shannon Stone statue

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The Rangers will honor firefighter Shannon Stone with a statue set to be unveiled next year.

The statue, which is tentatively set to be named Rangers Fans, will feature Stone along with his 6-year-old son, Cooper.  The two were at the game together when Shannon Stone tumbled over a Rangers Ballpark railing catching a thrown ball from Josh Hamilton and fell to his death.

“We feel that this statue will be a most fitting tribute,” Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan said in a press release. “It will not only serve to honor Mr. Stone’s memory but also to recognize Rangers fans and baseball fans everywhere.

“I have discussed the project with Jenny Stone, and she and the Stone family will be involved in the design and creation of the statue.”

Jenny Stone issued the following statement:

We continue to be appreciative of Nolan Ryan and the Texas Rangers as we deal with the loss of Shannon. Shannon and Cooper had a special relationship, and we are touched and grateful that it will be memorialized at one of their favorite places. Our hope is that this statue will not be a symbol of our family tragedy but rather a reminder of the importance of a family’s love – love of each other, love of spending time together, and love of the game.

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.