Yoshinori Tateyama became a free agent in late October when Texas declined his $1.2 million option for 2013, but the 36-year-old reliever is returning to the Rangers on a minor-league contract.
Tateyama pitched well as rookie in 2011 after coming over from Japan, throwing 44 innings with a 4.50 ERA and 43/11 K/BB ratio, but got knocked around in the majors this year and spent most of the season at Triple-A.
His numbers there were very strong, with a 1.13 ERA and 45/7 K/BB ratio in 40 innings, so the Rangers did well to keep him in the organization as bullpen depth and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him back in the majors as a middle reliever.
Cubs infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with back soreness. The move is retroactive to April 14. While it doesn’t appear to be the precursor to any serious injury, Zobrist has already missed six straight days of activity after feeling his back tighten up last weekend. Should he see the minimum time on the DL, as expected, he’ll be eligible to return by the start of the Cubs’ series against the Indians on Tuesday.
Prior to his injury, the 36-year-old outfielder raked an impressive .326/.408/.465 with three extra-base hits in 49 plate appearances. He last appeared for the Cubs during their homestand last weekend and helped propel the team to a 14-10 win over the Braves with three hits, two walks and two RBI. Provided that he can remain healthy going forward, it’s a promising start for the veteran outfielder, who has yet to return to the All-Star-worthy numbers he posted with the club in 2016.
With Zobrist sidelined for the time being, Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr. have shared the leadoff spot and center field duties over the last week. Happ went 0-for-8 with six strikeouts in two games before passing the baton to Almora, who collected five hits and two RBI in 11 at-bats.