Cubs sign left-hander Dontrelle Willis to a minor league contract

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“The D-Train” has at least one stop left.

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that Dontrelle Willis has agreed to a minor league contract with the Cubs, who originally drafted him back in 2000. The deal includes an invite to minor league camp, but he could get a chance in major league spring training if he’s throwing well.

Willis announced his retirement last July after posting an 8.53 ERA in four appearances with the Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate, but he has had a change of heart. The southpaw hasn’t enjoyed any success in the big leagues for a long time, but it’s easy to forget that he’s just 30 years old. This is about as low-risk as minor league deals can get, so it’s worth a shot for all involved.

Miguel Sano gained weight this offseason

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Not all players coming in to spring training are in The Best Shapes of Their Lives. Some have put on a few pounds, such as Miguel Sano, notes Twins GM Thad Levine:

Sano has been given medical clearance to engage in all baseball workouts with his teammates, his surgically reinforced left shin now completely healed, though the Twins intend to lighten his schedule to prevent any new injuries.

They’d like to lighten something else, too: His “generous carriage,” as General Manager Thad Levine delicately put it last week. Sano’s conditioning understandably lags, after a winter largely spent incapacitated by the surgery.

Sano’s conditioning has often been a topic of conversation among the members of the Minnesota press corps, though not always in good faith. For example, last year when Sano injured his shin by fouling a ball off of it, one member of the The Fourth Estate found a way to make a column out of blaming the freak injury on Sano’s conditioning. At least in this instance his colleague is correctly noting that the poor conditioning is a result of the injury and not the cause.

Still, it’s just another issue facing Sano this spring. He’s out of shape, coming off of an injury, and — not that he’s due any sympathy for it — he’s facing a likely suspension arising out of the allegations of sexual assault leveled against him late last year.

So this spring we’ll be seeing more of Sano, it seems. At least until that time we’ll be seeing less of him.