Cardinals sign Scott Linebrink to minor league deal

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The Cardinals announced late this afternoon that they have signed reliever Scott Linebrink to a minor league contract which includes an invitation to spring training. B.J. Rains of FOX Sports Midwest was the first to report the news.

Linebrink posted a solid 3.64 ERA and a 42/21 K/BB ratio over 54 1/3 innings with the Braves last season, although he was limited to just 14 appearances between August and September due to a lower back injury. He clearly enjoyed getting away from the American League and the hitter-friendly U.S. Cellular Field, but evidently that wasn’t enough to get him a guaranteed major-league deal.

The Cardinals already have plenty of quality options in their projected bullpen, so the veteran right-hander may have a tough time winning a spot on the Opening Day roster.

Sheldon Ocker named winner of the 2018 J.G. Taylor Spink Award

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The Baseball Writers Association of America has named Sheldon Ocker the winner of the 2018 J.G. Taylor Spink Award. He will be honored with the award that is presented annually to a sportswriter “for meritorious contributions to baseball writing” during Hall of Fame inductions in Cooperstown on July 29.

Ocker began covering the Indians for the Akron Beacon Journal in 1981 and did so until 2013, when he retired. He was national president of the BBWAA in 1985 and served as chair of the Cleveland Chapter 11 times. He named Ohio Sports Writer of the Year in 1997 and 2000 by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.