Switch-pitcher Pat Venditte to be available in Rule 5 draft

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The Yankees added 2B David Adams, OF Zoilo Almonte, INF Corban Joseph, RHP D.J. Mitchell and RHP David Phelps to the 40-man roster prior to Friday’s deadline to protect players from the Rule 5 draft, but they left switch-pitcher Pat Venditte off the list, making him eligible to be picked on Dec. 8.

It will be interesting to see if anyone grabs Venditte. The Yankees selected the ambidextrous pitcher out of Creighton in the 20th round of the 2008 draft, and he’s had a stellar minor league career to date. In 2010, he had a 1.73 ERA and an 85/14 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings in the Florida State League. Last season, he had a 3.40 ERA and an 88/31 K/BB ratio in 90 innings for Double-A Trenton.

The Yankees, though, made it pretty obvious through their actions that they never viewed him as a potential major leaguer. He was initially a closer in the minors, but the Yankees took him out of that role and treated him as a middle reliever beginning in 2010. They also brought him along ridiculously slowly; Venditte, who turned 26 in June, should have been challenged with Double-A in 2010 and Triple-A last season.

Because he possesses below average fastballs with both arms, Venditte, who uses a six-fingered glove on the mound, is more of a curiosity than a prospect. Still, some team may want to take a look at him next spring. It’d be fun to see him try to frustrate some major league switch-hitters.

Watch: Ryan Goins tags Todd Frazier with the hidden ball trick

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The Yankees are facing a convoluted path to the postseason, and they didn’t do themselves any favors after Todd Frazier fell for Ryan Goins‘ hidden ball trick in the third inning of Friday’s series opener. With one out and Frazier on second base, Jacoby Ellsbury skied a deep fly ball to right field, where it was caught by Jose Bautista just shy of the warning track and tossed back to Goins at second. Goins faked the throw to Marco Estrada, then sneakily (or not so sneakily, depending on your vantage point) gloved the ball and caught Frazier off the bag for the third out.

Of course, it helped that Frazier’s back was turned during the throw, so Goins’ fake-out may not have been as obvious as it was when the Yankees reviewed the tape several minutes later.

Goins earned another spot on the highlight reel in the sixth inning, mashing his second grand slam of the season while Frazier — and the rest of the Yankees’ offense, sans one home-run-record-slaying Aaron Judge — scrambled to catch up. The Yankees currently trail the Blue Jays 8-1 in the bottom of the eighth inning, and will need to pull off a comeback (and hope the Astros and Athletics clinch their respective games) before they can lay claim to a playoff spot.

Blue Jays shut down Steve Pearce for the rest of 2017

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The Blue Jays have shut down left fielder Steve Pearce for the remainder of the season following a lingering case of lower back stiffness. Pearce has not appeared in a game since September 8, when he was forced to exit in the first inning after experiencing back pain during his at-bat. Per Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca, he’s scheduled to return to Florida next week, where he’ll receive epidural injections to address the pain.

Pearce, 34, impressed in his first season with Toronto. He battled through a calf injury during the first half of the season and finished the year with a modest .252/.319/.438 batting line, 13 home runs and a .757 OPS through 348 PA. By September, the Blue Jays started testing the waters with outfield prospect Teoscar Hernandez, who shouldered the bulk of the starts in left field after Pearce was sidelined with back issues.

With the Blue Jays all but eliminated from playoff contention, however, there’s no rush to get Pearce back to the outfield. He should be in fine shape to compete for another starting role in spring, and could face stiff competition from Hernandez if the rookie continues building on his .278 average and three home runs this month. The veteran outfielder is slated to receive the remaining $6.25 million on his contract in 2018 and will be eligible for free agency in 2019.