Twins sign catcher Eric Fryer to minor league deal

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From MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger comes word that the Twins have signed catcher Eric Fryer to a minor league contract. It’s possible that the deal will carry an invitation to spring training, but the 27-year-old backstop won’t stand much of a chance of cracking the Opening Day roster with Joe Mauer and Drew Butera already locked in for the 2013 campaign.

Fryer made only five plate appearance with the Pirates this past season, netting one single. He batted .204/.257/.247 with no home runs, 10 RBI and seven total extra-base hits in 65 games at Triple-A Indianapolis.

The Twins have also agreed to a minor league contract with right-handed reliever Tim Wood.

Anibal Sanchez accepts optional assignment to Triple-A

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The Tigers announced on Monday that pitcher Anibal Sanchez has accepted an optional assignment to Triple-A Toledo. Pitcher Warwick Saupold was recalled from Toledo to take Sanchez’s roster spot.

Sanchez, 33, continued to struggle this season pitching out of the bullpen. He gave up 26 runs (21 earned) on 34 hits and nine walks with 22 strikeouts in 21 innings. Nine of those 34 hits were home runs. Sanchez finished the 2015 season with a 4.99 ERA and last season with a 5.87 ERA, so he’s had a rough go of it in recent years.

The decision to go to Triple-A was Sanchez’s, Anthony Fenech of the Free Press reports. Sanchez wants to be stretched out as a starting pitcher again.

Braves release James Loney

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Just a few days after inking him to a minor league deal, the Braves have released first baseman James Loney, the team announced on Monday. Loney became expendable when the Braves acquired Matt Adams from the Cardinals on Saturday as a replacement for the injured Freddie Freeman.

Loney, 33, appeared in two games at Triple-A Gwinnett. He had one hit, a single, and one walk in eight plate appearances.

Loney will likely have to wait for another team to deal with an injured first baseman or DH before he can secure another contract.