Yankees have a deal “in place” with Travis Hafner

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Yesterday the Yankees were said to be close to signing Travis Hafner and now Chad Jennings of the New York Journal News reports that “the deal is in place” and could be announced as soon as today.

No word yet on the specifics, but Jennings speculates that it’ll be similar to the one-year, $1.1 million deal Raul Ibanez got to leave the Yankees for the Mariners.

Hafner can’t stay healthy and is purely a designated hitter, but as a part-time bat versus right-handed pitching he remains plenty dangerous and certainly worth that type of modest commitment.

During the past three seasons Hafner hit .278 with an .855 OPS versus righties. For comparison, over that same span Ibanez hit .261 with a .793 OPS versus righties.

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.