Hiroyuki Nakajima returns to Japan after failing to sign with Yankees

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Japanese infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima failed to reach an agreement with the Yankees after they bid $2 million for his exclusive negotiating rights, so he’s returning to his old team in Japan.

Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker notes that Nakajima has signed a one-year deal with the Seibu Lions worth around $3.6 million, adding that the shortstop “doesn’t look unhappy to be returning to the Lions and is expected to pursue an MLB deal as a free agent following the 2012 season.”

New York seemed almost surprised that their relatively low bid secured Nakajima’s negotiating rights and at no point were they said to be particularly motivated to get a contract worked out, viewing him as a utility man-caliber player who didn’t really have an obvious role on the roster.

They’ve been refunded the $2 million posting fee and next offseason Nakajima will try to follow in Hisashi Iwakuma’s footsteps by coming to the United States without having to go through the posting process.

Mariners activate Robinson Cano from the disabled list

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The Mariners announced that second baseman Robinson Cano has been activated from the disabled list in time for Tuesday’s game against the Nationals in Washington. Cano spent the minimum 10 days on the disabled list with a strained right quadriceps.

Taylor Motter got most of the playing time at second base while Cano was out. Mike Freeman did get a couple of starts there as well.

Cano resumes batting .296/.362/.533 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 152 plate appearances on the season.

Former outfielder Anthony Gose is throwing 99 m.p.h. fastballs in the minors

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Anthony Gose played for five seasons as an outfielder in the big leagues. He never hit well enough to be a regular, and a series of altercations with his minor league managers and coaches didn’t do too much for his future either.

His fastball, however, may eventually make up for all of that.

Toward the end of spring training it was reported that Gose would begin work as a pitcher. Given that he was a highly regarded high school pitching prospect with a plus fastball, it wasn’t a crazy notion. When Tigers camp broke, Gose stayed in Lakeland in extended spring training, throwing bullpen sessions and stuff.

Now he’s seeing game action. As the Detroit Free Press reports, Gose threw an inning for the Class-A Lakeland Flying Tigers against the Palm Beach Cardinals last night. He allowed one run on one hit with one strikeout and one walk, lighting up the radar gun at 99 m.p.h. This is the tweet from Lakeland’s assistant general manager:

The Free Press says that the Tigers’ vice president of player development, Dave Littlefield, is “very optimistic” about Gose’s progress.

Given that he’s still only 26 and he’s a lefty it wouldn’t shock me at all if he makes his way back to the bigs someday soon.