NPB Commissioner Ryozo Kato resigns over juiced ball controversy

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Earlier this season a scandal erupted in Japanese baseball when NPB commissioner Ryozo Kato admitted that the league had doctored the baseballs in order to generate more offense. Back in June, when the scandal was revealed, players in the league demanded that Kato step down. He declined to.  Now he has:

Japanese baseball commissioner Ryozo Kato has announced his resignation at an owners’ meeting … “I caused a lot of problems over the ball, and that was a huge reason for my decision,” Kyodo news agency quoted Kato as saying.

This comes days after Wladimir Balentien broke the single-season home run record of 55 (he currently has 58). Kato, however, says that Balentien’s feat was not aided by the doctored balls.

Reds sign outfielders Mason Williams and Rosell Herrera to minor league deals

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The Reds picked up outfielders Mason Williams and Rosell Herrera on minor league deals, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports. Both Williams and Herrera will receive invites to spring training and could compete for backup outfield roles behind Adam Duvall, Billy Hamilton and Scott Schebler.

Williams, 26, completed a three-year track with the Yankees in 2017. He has yet to see a full season of playing time, however, and went 4-for-17 with two stolen bases during a five-game span with the club in 2017. While not a power hitter, his speed and steady contact rate produced a .263/.309/.318 batting line over 437 plate appearances in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, including two home runs, three triples and 19 stolen bases.

Herrera, 25, has yet to make his big league debut. After seven years in the Rockies’ system, he finally reached Triple-A Albuquerque in 2017 and slashed .278/.351/.394 with three home runs and 20 stolen bases in 363 PA. He looks most comfortable in the left field corner, but has some experience at shortstop and third base and should give the Reds a nice utility option come spring.