From John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle comes word that the Giants are “closing in on signing” Japanese second baseman Kensuke Tanaka to a minor league contract. The deal is expected to include an invitation to spring training, where Tanaka will be in the running for a utility job.
The 31-year-old batted .300/.350/.363 with three home runs, 14 doubles, three triples and 32 RBI in 505 plate appearances last season for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters of Japan’s Pacific League.
Tanaka also stole 13 bases in 22 attempts.
UPDATE, 10:45 PM: Shea reports that the minor league contract has now been made official.
Pirates infielder Gift Ngoepe, just called up from Triple-A Indianapolis, singled in his first major league at-bat on Wednesday evening against Cubs starter Jon Lester. It was a well-struck ground ball up the middle in the bottom of the fourth inning. Unfortunately for him, the Pirates could not bring him around to score.
Ngoepe, who was pinch-hitting, stayed in the game to play second base.
Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Monday due to inflammation in his right elbow. He had a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Tuesday and is currently awaiting a third opinion from Dr. James Andrews, Craig Grialou of Arizona Sports reports. That he’s getting a third opinion seems to imply that Miller’s elbow issue is rather serious.
Miller, 26, hasn’t been able to catch a break since joining the Diamondbacks. Last year’s nightmarish season included a finger injury stemming from mechanical woes and a brief demotion to the minor leagues. In 20 starts in the majors last year, Miller posted an ugly 6.15 ERA. This year, his ERA is a mediocre 4.09 over four starts.
The Diamondbacks called up Zack Godley to take Miller’s spot in the rotation. There was some speculation that it would be Archie Bradley instead, but he’s been working out of the bullpen.