Phillies release infielder Yuniesky Betancourt

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CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury reports that the Phillies have cut ties with Yuniesky Betancourt.

Betancourt was signed to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training on January 28 by the Philadelphia front office. He had a .447/.451/.574 slash line in 51 Grapefruit League plate appearances as of Sunday morning, but the Phillies have decided not to bring him north and the veteran wouldn’t have accepted an assignment to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Betancourt has reportedly drawn some interest from the Cardinals, who are planning to start Pete Kozma at shortstop. Whether it’s St. Louis or somewhere else, Yuni shouldn’t be out of work long.

The 31-year-old hit .228/.256/.400 with seven home runs in 57 games last season with the Royals.

Report: Blue Jays and Marco Estrada nearing agreement on contract extension

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Jon Morosi reports that the Blue Jays and starter Marco Estrada are nearing an agreement on a contract extension. The deal is expected to be for one guaranteed year, Morosi adds.

Estrada, 34, was set to become a free agent after the season. He earned $26 million on a two-year contract signed with the Jays in November 2015. While the right-hander has a subpar 4.84 ERA on the season, he has a solid 170/67 K/BB ratio in 176 2/3 innings and has looked much better since the end of July. Between July 31 and his most recent start on Saturday, Estrada owns a 3.75 ERA.

J.A. Happ is the only other starter technically under contract with the Jays next season. Marcus Stroman will be eligible for his second year of arbitration and the Jays will certainly agree to give him a raise on his $3.4 million salary for the 2017 season. The Jays will likely be active this offseason in adding rotation help and they’re starting early by locking up Estrada.

Video: Jackie Bradley, Jr. robs Chris Davis of a home run

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Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. robbed Orioles first baseman Chris Davis of his 25th home run on Tuesday evening, leaping at the fence in center field to make the catch and keep the game scoreless in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Davis swung at the first pitch he saw from Drew Pomeranz, a slider that crossed the middle of the plate.

This game has potential playoff implications, as the first-place Red Sox hold a three-game lead over the Yankees in the NL East. Meanwhile, the Orioles are still in the AL Wild Card race, trailing the Twins by 5.5 games for the second Wild Card slot.