Royals sign left-handed reliever Scott Downs

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From beat writer Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star comes word that the Royals have agreed to terms on a major league contract with left-handed reliever Scott Downs, who will join the big league bullpen immediately. Casey Coleman was optioned to Triple-A Omaha to clear a 25-man roster spot.

Downs got released by the White Sox late last week after posting a rough 6.08 ERA and 1.65 WHIP over 23 2/3 innings. The veteran southpaw had a shiny 2.49 ERA in 43 1/3 innings last season between the Angels and Braves, holding left-handed hitters to a .259/.333/.296 slash line.

The 38-year-old Downs may have a little something left in the tank.

Yankees acquire A.J. Cole from the Nats

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The New York Yankees have acquired reliever A.J. Cole from the Washington Nationals for cash considerations.

Cole was supposed to be the Nats’ fifth starter this year but that didn’t work out too well. He pitched in four games for the Nats, starting two, to the tune of a 13.06 ERA, having given up six home runs in 10.1 innings. That’s . . . something.

Don’t get too used to Cole on the New York roster, as this seems like one of those “give us an arm” for a couple of days deals, after which Cole will be DFA’d and will either accept an assignment to Scranton or be cut loose. Such is life at the fringes for a guy who is out of minor league options.