Josh Johnson has surgery to remove bone spurs from elbow

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Josh Johnson, who struggled all season before being shut down in late August, underwent surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow, according to Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors.

Dr. James Andrews did the honors and Johnson is expected to be fully healthy for spring training, although Johnson being fully healthy ever again is obviously a big question mark. Bone spurs are generally not a huge deal, so if it turns out that they were the primary cause of his arm problems that would actually qualify as positive news for the impending free agent.

Not so long ago Johnson was one of the best young right-handers in baseball, but now at age 30 he’s likely looking at an incentive-laden one-year deal after throwing just 81 innings with a 6.20 ERA this season.  Johnson has missed a ton of time with injuries over the years, but until this season he’d always remained very effective when healthy enough to take the mound.

Diamondbacks return Rule 5 pick Tyler Jones to Yankees

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Diamondbacks’ right-hander Tyler Jones is headed back to the Yankees, the teams announced on Friday. The Diamondbacks had previously selected Jones in the Rule 5 draft last December, but elected to leave the 27-year-old off of their 40-man roster heading into the 2017 season. Rule 5 draft rules stipulate that when a player is not kept on the receiving team’s roster, the player must be offered back to his original team.

Jones signed a minor league contract with the Yankees prior to the 2016 season. He pitched to an impressive 2.17 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 13.2 SO/9 over 45 2/3 innings with Double-A Trenton, but was unable to make the leap to Triple-A or beyond during his stay with the organization.

Jones’ outlook with the Diamondbacks appeared slightly more promising. GM Mike Hazen described the righty as a power arm with a “good fastball and power curveball” after selecting him in the Rule 5 draft, and early reports indicated that Jones would be in the mix for a bullpen spot. A rough spring performance — underscored by his lack of experience at the Triple-A and major league levels — undid most of that confidence, however, and the Diamondbacks weren’t willing to keep him on the active roster throughout the entire 2017 season in order to acquire his control rights.

Jones is set to open the season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, per a report from the Yankees.

Derek Norris signing with the Rays

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Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown reports that Derek Norris is signing with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Norris was released by the Nationals nine days ago, made redundant by the Nats’ signing of Matt Wieters and by everyone sliding down a notch on the depth chart below him. Norris hit only .186/.255/.328 with 14 home runs and a .528 OPS for the Padres in 2016.

Still, there always seems to be a place for a backup catcher. For Norris that place is Tampa Bay.