Astros sign Cesar Izturis

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Exciting day for utility infielders!

First the Phillies signed Ronny Cedeno and now Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the Astros have signed Cesar Izturis to a minor-league deal.

Izturis spent last season with the Reds, hitting .209 with zero homers and a .530 OPS in 63 games at age 31. He’s one of the worst hitters of this era and hasn’t topped a .650 OPS since 2004, but obviously teams don’t have Izturis around for his bat.

He’ll try to win a bench job during spring training.

Dominic Smith likely to start the season at Triple-A

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Following the Mets’ recent signing of first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports that fellow first baseman Dominic Smith is likely to start the season with Triple-A Las Vegas. That is contingent, of course, on the veteran Gonzalez’s ability to remain healthy, which isn’t a guarantee.

Smith, 22, struggled last season, batting .198/.262/.395 in 183 plate appearances. The Mets have also expressed concern about Smith’s conditioning. Puma reported in November that as a result of better dietary choices and a daily exercise regimen, Smith had already lost 11-12 pounds.

Gonzalez, 35, didn’t exactly have a stellar 2017 campaign. Along with battling back issues, Gonzalez hit .242/.287/.355 in 252 PA. That the Mets’ Plan A is to go with Gonzalez over Smith says something about their confidence in Smith.