Stephen Strasburg

Stephen Strasburg shaky in third minor league rehab start

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Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington has all the details on Stephen Strasburg’s latest rehab outing.

Strasburg, now 11 months removed from Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery, allowed four hits, two walks and five earned runs in under two innings of work Wednesday evening against the Astros’ Single-A affiliate from Lexington, Kentucky.

He struck out three and hit 97 mph with his fastball, but the 23-year-old did not look overly sharp in what can be considered his worst professional start.

Strasburg tallied four strikeouts and yielded one run in 1 2/3 innings with Single-A Hagerstown during his first minor league rehab game, back in early August. He then threw three scoreless innings for Single-A Potomac in his second rehab appearance, fanning five.

Wednesday’s outing was certainly ugly, but the Nationals’ front office is likely taking solace in the fact that Strasburg hasn’t experienced any pain or discomfort to this point in his prized right arm.

Nationals skipper Davey Johnson told reporters this week that the current plan calls for Strasburg to return to the major league mound around September 2. That blueprint, so far, remains unchanged.

Yankees sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 17:  Jonathon Niese #49 of the New York Mets delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 17, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
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Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.

According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.

Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.

Tigers to give Omar Infante some work in center field this spring

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 11:  Omar Infante #4 of the Detroit Tigers follows through on an RBI single scoring Prince Fielder #28 during the eighth inning against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field  on September 11, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)
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Veteran Omar Infante has spent the overwhelming majority of his career as an infielder, but the Tigers plan to give him some playing time in center field this spring. The Tigers’ center field situation is still murky and adding more versatility would increase Infante’s odds of making the roster.

Infante, 35, signed a minor league deal with the Tigers in December. He played 39 games for the Royals last season, batting .239/.279/.321 in 149 plate appearances while playing second base exclusively. Infante last played in the outfield in 2010 with the Braves, and last played center field specifically in ’09 with the Braves.

The Tigers currently have Mikie Mahtook, Tyler Collins, and JaCoby Jones at the top of their center field depth chart. It is not what one would call “optimal.”