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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.

Corey Dickerson has lost 25 pounds

PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 25:  Corey Dickerson #10 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a photo during the Rays' photo day on February 25, 2016 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Florida.  (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Corey Dickerson of the Tampa Bay Rays wasn’t a super huge guy or anything, but he’s going to be smaller this year: he told reporters today that he’s lost 25 pounds. He attributes it to a new diet and a workout regimen and says it’ll help him with his running, swing and throwing.

Dickerson had a down year in 2016, so if losing 25 pounds is something he thinks will work for him he’s got nothing to lose. Of course the best way for him to improve his numbers is to convince the Rays to trade him back to Colorado, but that’s not likely.

James McCann is in The Best Shape of His Life

Detroit Tigers catcher James McCann blows a bubble while warming up during a spring training baseball workout, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016, in Lakeland, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
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As I note every spring, “Best Shape of His Life” stories aren’t really about players being in The Best Shape of Their Lives. They’re about players and agents seeking to create positive stories.

We know this because the vast majority of Best Shape of His Life claims are about guys who were either injured the season before, guys who had subpar years the season before or players whose conditioning was a point of controversy the season before. These folks, or their agents + reporters who have little if nothing to write about in the offseason = BSOHL.

James McCann hurt his ankle last season and had a subpar year at the plate. So not only is he a perfect BSOHL candidate, he went old school with the claim and hit it right on the money, verbatim:

Spring training is less than a month away, folks!