Yankees release Hideki Okajima after failed physical exam

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UPDATE: No word yet on the cause of the failed physical, but the Yankees have released Okajima.

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Hideki Okajima, who signed a minor-league contract with the Yankees in December, has failed his physical exam according to David Waldstein of the New York Times.

Waldstein speculates that the Yankees will void his contract and make the 36-year-old reliever a free agent again, although it’s also possible that they could simply alter the terms of the contract and keep him around in the minors.

Okajima pitched his way out of the Red Sox’s plans after three seasons as a top-notch setup man, but was excellent at Triple-A last year with a 2.29 ERA and 49/8 K/BB ratio in 51 innings.

Blue Jays, Josh Donaldson to table extension talks

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Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.

Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.

The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.

If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.