Rays designate Heath Bell for assignment

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From Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times comes word that the Rays have designated right-handed reliever Heath Bell for assignment, clearing a 40-man roster spot for the promotion of Nate Karns.

Bell had surrendered 24 hits, eight walks, and 16 runs — 14 earned — in 17 1/3 innings this year for the Rays, who got him from the Diamondbacks this past winter as part of a three-team trade.

The 36-year-old owns a rough 4.91 ERA and 1.507 WHIP in 146 2/3 innings since signing a three-year, $27 million free agent contract with the Marlins prior to the 2012 campaign. That deal ends this fall.

Bell will either be traded, released, or outrighted to Triple-A Durham within the next 10 days.

Javier Baez, D.J. LeMahieu have disagreement about sign-stealing

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Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.

LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.

There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.

The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.