Dexter Fowler has been getting help from Barry Bonds

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Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports that Dexter Fowler has been getting tutelage from former Giants outfielder Barry Bonds. Since back-to-back-to-back two-hit games to start the season, Fowler has slumped, batting just .114 in 47 trips to the plate over 11 games. Only one of his five hits has gone for extra bases.

Drellich writes that Fowler has been receiving instruction from Bonds for roughly a year, including over the off-season, but Bonds and Fowler have been collaborating at the O.co Coliseum while the Astros have battled the Athletics over the weekend.

Fowler says Bonds isn’t only helping with hitting:

“I don’t think it’s just one thing,” Fowler said. “It’s a plethora of things. To point out one thing, it’s mentally, it’s physically, it’s everything.”

Ryan Howard is another notable player to have been coached by Bonds, going all the way back to 2010. It’s tough to deduce if it helped, since Howard was injured for much of 2011 and ’12. The Astros, who have had Fowler lead off for most of the season, hope Bonds can help their center fielder turn his season around.

Tigers sign Edwin Espinal to minor league deal

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Free agent first baseman Edwin Espinal has signed a minor league deal with the Tigers, the infielder announced Saturday. The move has yet to be confirmed by the team.

Espinal, 23, capped a seven-year run with the Pirates’ minor league affiliates in 2017. He split his season between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis, batting a cumulative .294/.327/.447 with 15 home runs and 31 doubles in 532 plate appearances. While he’s raked at nearly every level so far, he also profiles well on defense, and rounded off his 2017 performance with a perfect fielding percentage, 208 putouts and a Gold Glove award.

Espinal is untested at the major league level and it’s not yet clear if he’ll make the jump in 2018. He showed some positional versatility during his time in the minors, however, and could take reps at third base or DH if necessary. The Tigers are reportedly on the lookout for pitching depth and left-handed bats — two bills the right-handed Espinal doesn’t fit — and presumably have a lot of moves left to make this winter.