Tigers ink minor league deal with Kevin Russo

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As reported late Saturday by FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi, the Tigers have agreed to a minor league contract with super utilityman Kevin Russo.

The 28-year-old was drafted by the Yankees in 2006 and has spent the past six seasons at various levels of their minor league system. He got a short cup of coffee in the big leagues in 2010, batting .184 with a .245 on-base percentage in 54 plate appearances.

Russo, a New York native, hit .284/.358/.351 with zero home runs and 15 stolen bases in 101 games this past summer at Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre. He’s capable of playing second and third base, and can handle all three outfield spots, which makes him a decently valuable piece of organizational depth.

Russo’s deal includes an invite to spring training, though he’s doubtful to crack the Opening Day roster.

Five minor leaguers suspended for drug violations

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NEW YORK (AP) Five minor league pitchers have been suspended for drug violations.

The commissioner’s office announced the penalties Tuesday.

Three of the players are part of the Toronto system. Right-hander Juan Jimenez and left-hander Naswell Paulino were each suspended for 72 games, and righty Jol Concepcion was banned for 60 games. Jimenez, Paulino and Concepcion tested for Boldenone, a performance-enhancing substance.

Jimenez and Paulino are on the roster for the rookie-level Dominican Summer League Blue Jays, and Concepcion is on the roster of the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Blue Jays.

Kansas City minor leaguer Travis Eckert and free-agent lefty Kevin Duchene each tested positive for a drug of abuse. Eckert was suspended for 50 games following a second positive test, and Duchene received a 100-game penalty following a third positive test.

Eckert is on the roster for Single-A Lexington of the South Atlantic League.

There have been 79 suspensions under the minor league drug program this year and five under the major league program.