Cardinals call up A’s castoff Brian Fuentes

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Brian Fuentes is back in the majors two weeks after being released by the A’s, as the Cardinals have called up the veteran left-hander.

Fuentes was designated for assignment by Oakland after posting a 6.84 ERA in 25 innings and predictably no teams were willing to take on his $5 million contract via waivers.

However, once he was available for a prorated share of the minimum salary the Cardinals signed him to a minor-league contract and will give the 36-year-old former closer a look in a middle relief role. At the very least Fuentes still seems capable of being useful in a left-handed specialist role and he was effective enough last season to potentially still be a decent setup man.

Athletics and Mariners to begin the 2019 regular season in Tokyo

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Oakland A’s and the Seattle Mariners will begin the 2019 regular season in Japan, in the Tokyo Dome.

The series will mark the third time that the A’s will begin their season in Japan, first doing it in 2008 against the Red Sox and then again in 2012 against the Mariners.

This is just the latest of Major League Baseball’s moves to expand the the game internationally. In addition to those previous series in Japan, the Dodgers and Diamondbacks opened their season in Australia in 2014 and the Dodgers and Padres will play a series in Mexico City this May. There has likewise been talk of the Mets playing a series in London, though those details have not yet been worked out. Obviously the World Baseball Classic represents the league’s effort to broaden the global scope of the once national pastime.

Get ready for early morning baseball, folks.