You won’t believe who are DHing for baseball’s two best offenses

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The Yankees and Rangers, No. 1 and No. 2 respectively in runs per game so far this season, will meet for the first time this season tonight. So, of course, they’ve both brought out the big guns, right?

Well, certainly, the top six for each lineup is incredibly strong. The designated hitters won’t be found there, though. They’re both batting eighth tonight. And for good reason.

The Yankees have their backup shortstop, Eduardo Nunez, DHing for the first time in his career. The usual strategy has been to play him at shortstop or third in order to give Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez a half-day off as a DH. However, after Sunday’s rainout, neither veteran needs that half-day off right now. Nunez has six homers and 40 RBI in 381 career major league at-bats.

The Rangers’ designated hitter is Brandon Snyder, a former first-round pick of the Orioles who was cast off by the team over the winter. But while he couldn’t help Baltimore, the two-time defending AL champs have given him an early look against lefties, starting him twice at first base. He’s gone 3-for-9 so far. Overall, he has no homers and four RBI in 42 major league at-bats.

It’s safe to say neither player will be reminding anyone of Jose Canseco, Chili Davis, Don Baylor, Sammy Sosa or any of the other muscle-bound sluggers of DH days past.

Reds ink Oliver Perez to a minor-league deal

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The Reds have signed free agent reliever Oliver Perez to a minor-league contract, the team announced Saturday. The deal comes with a major-league invite and could be worth $1.25 million if Perez secures a roster spot this spring, with an additional $500,000 in potential performance bonuses.

Perez, 36, is coming off of a two-year run with the Nationals. He produced a 4.64 ERA, 3.3 BB/9 an d10.6 SO/9 through 50 relief appearances and 33 innings with the club in 2017. The veteran lefty hasn’t kept an ERA under 4.00 in at least four seasons, but he continues to be undeniably solid against left-handed batters, holding them to a .227/.301/.364 batting line over 18 1/3 innings last year.

While returning southpaw Wandy Peralta appears to have locked down a bullpen spot already, Perez will still compete for another role against fellow left-handers Cody Reed and Amir Garrett, both of whom also have experience in the rotation. If Perez doesn’t break camp with the team, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon notes, he’ll be permitted to opt out of his contract. The Reds are currently looking to bounce back from a dismal performance in 2017, one in which their bullpen ranked 28th among major league teams with a collective 5.63 ERA and -1.2 fWAR.