Aroldis Chapman tosses scoreless inning in first Arizona Fall League appearance

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The Reds plan to stretch Aroldis Chapman out as a starting pitcher during winter ball in Puerto Rico, but he’s making a few tune-up appearances in the prospect-rich Arizona Fall League first.

According to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com, the hard-throwing left-hander tossed a scoreless inning of relief in his first appearance this afternoon. He threw eight out of 16 pitches for strikes while fanning one and walking one. Keith Law of ESPN.com notes that he touched 101 mph on his fastball.

Chapman is scheduled to pitch again Thursday and next Monday before leaving for winter ball. Barring a change of plans, he is expected to get a look as a starting pitcher during spring training.

Mets sign Matt Purke to minors deal

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The Mets signed left-hander Matt Purke to a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Purke will also receive an invitation to spring training, where he could presumably beef up the club’s left-handed relief options alongside Jerry Blevins and Josh Smoker.

Purke has not appeared in the majors since 2016, when he was used in a dozen relief appearances by the White Sox. The 27-year-old racked up a 5.50 ERA, 6.0 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 in his first 18 innings with the team, and was demoted to Triple-A Charlotte in June to finish out the season. He spent the entire 2017 season in Triple-A as well, showing more promise with a 3.84 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 in 48 appearances.

While Purke may not amount to much more than a depth piece in New York’s ‘pen, the veteran lefty figures to be part of the Mets’ new bullpen-first strategy next year. Reports from MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo indicate that the club will be focusing on improving their relief options in order to ease the workload of their starting pitchers, and will likely add a few more arms before the offseason comes to a close.