felix getty

Felix Hernandez throws first bullpen session in M’s camp

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An MRI taken in early February — just before Felix Hernandez inked a record seven-year, $175 million contract extension with Seattle — revealed some potential long-term issues in the 26-year-old right-hander’s pitching elbow. But all is well for now.

According to beat writer Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times, Hernandez was brimming with confidence after throwing his first bullpen session of the spring on Wednesday afternoon in Mariners camp.

“I was waiting for it for a long time,” Hernandez said of the 33-pitch indoor throwing session, which lasted about 10 minutes. “Now that I feel good, I’m going to just keep going out there like normal and go with my routine and prepare for the games.” Check the Seattle Times’ website for video of the workout.

“I thought he looked free and easy and looked really good for his first time out,” added skipper Eric Wedge.

“King Felix” registered a stellar 3.06 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 223/56 K/BB ratio across 232 innings last season. If all continues to go smoothly, he will start on Opening Day — April 1 — against the Athletics.

Phillies sign outfielder Michael Saunders

CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 3: Michael Saunders #21 of the Toronto Blue Jays runs to first after being walked during the third inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on May 3, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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The Phillies have signed free agent outfielder Michael Saunders.

Saunders was an All-Star in 2016 due to his wonderful start, but he cratered in the second half of the season. Overall is numbers looked good — he hit 24 homers and posted a line of .253/.338/.478, but his second half line was .178/.282/.357 in 58 games. He’s not the best defender around either.

The Phillies could use him, however, and if he has another red hot first half, there’s a decent chance they could flip him if they wanted to.

Jose Bautista and the Blue Jays nearing a two-year, $35-40 million deal

Toronto Blue Jays Jose Bautista flips his bat after hitting a three-run homer during seventh inning game 5 American League Division Series baseball action in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
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It was first reported that the Blue Jays and Jose Bautista were close to a deal last night. Now Ken Rosenthal reports that the deal is near completion. It will likely a two-year contract in the $35-40 million range.

Bautista had a tough 2016, hitting .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs and 69 RBI, and some clubs likely considered a long-term deal for the 36-year-old too risky, this leading to the relative lack of reported interest in Bautista by other clubs. But back-to-back ALCS appearances by the Jays and the success and popularity Bautista has experienced in Toronto make his re-signing there a pretty sensible move for all involved.

The Jays, who already lost Edwin Encarnacion to free agency, get their slugger back on a short term deal. Unlike anyone else, they don’t have to give up the draft pick attached to him via the qualifying offer. Bautista, in turn, will make, on average, more than he would’ve made on the qualifying offer if he would’ve accepted it and a raise over the $14 million he made in 2016.