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Nationals sign Vance Worley to minor league deal

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Free agent right-hander Vance Worley signed a minor league deal with the Nationals on Saturday, per a team announcement. The deal includes an invite to spring training. SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo adds that the contract is for $1 million with an additional $1.65 million in incentives, though the details of the contract have yet to be released by the club.

News of the signing came as some surprise considering comments made by Orioles’ GM Dan Duquette several hours before the deal was announced:

Worley was non-tendered by the Orioles following a one-year run with Baltimore in 2016. He produced a 3.53 ERA, 3.6 BB/9 and 5.8 SO/9 over 86 2/3 innings, bringing his total value to just 0.1 fWAR on the year. His career line is little better: in seven major league seasons, the righty has pitched to a 3.75 ERA, 2.9 BB/9 and 6.8 SO/9 in multiple stints with the Phillies, Twins, Pirates and Orioles.

The 29-year-old swingman will likely compete for a bullpen spot in spring training, as the Nationals already have a stacked rotation featuring Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Tanner Roark, Joe Ross and A.J. Cole.

Video: Albert Almora, Jr. lays out to make a great catch in deep right-center field

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Cubs center fielder Albert Almora, Jr. robbed Giants first baseman Brandon Belt of at least a double in the top of the first inning of Monday’s game at Wrigley Field. Almora completely left his feet to catch the ball before landing just shy of the warning track.

The Giants took the early lead two batters prior to Belt’s at-bat as Joe Panik hit a solo home run to center field.

Anibal Sanchez accepts optional assignment to Triple-A

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The Tigers announced on Monday that pitcher Anibal Sanchez has accepted an optional assignment to Triple-A Toledo. Pitcher Warwick Saupold was recalled from Toledo to take Sanchez’s roster spot.

Sanchez, 33, continued to struggle this season pitching out of the bullpen. He gave up 26 runs (21 earned) on 34 hits and nine walks with 22 strikeouts in 21 innings. Nine of those 34 hits were home runs. Sanchez finished the 2015 season with a 4.99 ERA and last season with a 5.87 ERA, so he’s had a rough go of it in recent years.

The decision to go to Triple-A was Sanchez’s, Anthony Fenech of the Free Press reports. Sanchez wants to be stretched out as a starting pitcher again.