Report: Andruw Jones signs with Japanese team

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Nikkansports.com is reporting that the Rakuten Golden Eagles and Andruw Jones have come to terms on a one-year deal worth 300 million yen, or approximately $3.6 million.

If so, Jones becomes one of the biggest MLB stars ever to make the jump to Japan. The 35-year-old hit .197/.294/.408 with 14 homers and 34 RBI in 233 at-bats for the Yankees last season. Because of his late-season struggles, he probably wasn’t looking at much more than a one-year, $1.5 million contract in the U.S. He can also play regularly in Japan, an opportunity no MLB team has offered him since his horrible 2008 season with the Dodgers.

Jones, who was on a Hall of Fame path prior to 2008, has hit .254/.337/.486 with 434 homers and 1,289 RBI in 17 major league seasons. He won a Gold Glove 10 straight years from 1998-2007.

(hat-tip to NPB Tracker)

Baseball to honor Stoneman Douglas High School as spring training games begin

New Era
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There were a few exhibitions against college teams yesterday but today the Grapefruit League and Cactus League schedules begin in earnest, with big league teams, more or less, facing big league team, more or less.

The baseball will look like baseball, but the teams will be wearing different caps today: black caps with the maroon “SD” of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people were killed in a mass shooting on February 14.

All teams and umpire crews will wear the caps pre-game, and they have the option to wear the caps during the games. The only two teams not playing today — the Royals and Rangers — will wear them tomorrow.

After the games players will sign the caps and they will be auctioned off to raise money for the Broward Education Foundation, which benefits the official Stoneman Douglas Victims’ Fund.

Here’s today’s schedule: