Rays sign veteran reliever David Carpenter

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Right-hander David Carpenter, who was released last week by the Braves, has signed with the Rays on a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training.

Carpenter is 30 years old with a 3.66 ERA in 211 career innings as a big leaguer, including a 4.01 ERA for the Nationals and Yankees last season. He’s had some shoulder issues and is unlikely to grab a prominent late-inning role, but as far as mid-March minor-league signings go he’s got a strong chance to crack the Opening Day roster.

It’s unclear why the Braves signed Carpenter in November only to release him three months later, but the Rays will gladly take the added bullpen depth and mid-90s fastball at little cost.

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.