Indians close to minor league deal with Ryan Raburn

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According to Jordan Bastian of MLB.com, the Indians are nearing a minor league contract with free agent Ryan Raburn. The deal will likely be finalized next week and is expected to include a spring training invite.

Raburn, who turns 32 in April, was released by the Tigers in November after batting just .171/.226/.254 with one home run and a .480 OPS in 222 plate appearances last season. However, he smacked at least 14 homers in the previous three seasons and owns a .796 OPS against southpaws for his career.

Raburn won’t have a chance at a starting job in Cleveland, but with his experience between the infield and outfield, he could win a spot on Terry Francona’s bench.

Report: Shohei Ohtani has sprained UCL in pitching elbow

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The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.

Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”

Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.

Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.