The Blue Jays have reportedly signed free agent right-handed reliever Joe Smith to a one-year contract, per FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. Details have yet to be released by the team, though Rosenthal notes that it appears to be a Major League deal.
Smith, 32, split his 2016 season between the Angels and Cubs, pitching to a combined 3.46 ERA, 3.1 BB/9 and 6.9 SO/9 over 52 innings. It was far from a career year for the sidearmer, who suffered a rash of hamstring injuries that kept him on the disabled list for close to two months.
Assuming he remains healthy for a 2017 campaign, Smith will join a bullpen featuring right-hander Roberto Osuna, Joe Biagini and Jason Grilli, as well as newly-acquired left-hander J.P. Howell. The club is still short several left-handed options, though they have a few internal candidates to choose from this spring.
As far as ejections go, this is one of the stranger ones you’ll hear about. Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre was ejected in the bottom of the eighth inning of a game his team trailed at the time 18-6. Beltre was a few feet away from the circle towards home plate and was asked by Marlins pitcher Drew Steckenrider to get into the circle. So rather than step a few feet back to his right, Beltre picked up the circle and dragged it to where he was. And that got him ejected by second base umpire Gerry Davis. Manager Jeff Banister was also ejected after having a word with Davis.
Here’s a video from Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:
Beltre, by the way, went 3-for-3 with a walk, a pair of doubles, and a solo home run. He’s now four hits away from 3,000 for his career.
Phillies shortstop prospect J.P. Crawford’s stock has fallen sharply this season. He had an abysmal first three months, batting .203/.321/.276 in 291 plate appearances. Baseball America rated him the 12th overall prospect in baseball going into the season and rated him No. 92 in their midseason top 100. It was bad.
Since the calendar turned to July, however, Crawford has been more like his normal self. In 92 at-bats this month entering Wednesday night’s action, he was hitting .300/.391/.650 with six home runs, 13 RBI, 18 runs scored, and a terrific 15/12 K/BB ratio.
Crawford padded his stats more on Wednesday night as he circled the bases for an inside-the-park grand slam. Via the IronPigs Twitter:
Crawford was actually dead-to-rights at home, but he fooled the catcher with a great late slide.
Crawford finished 1-for-3 with a walk along with the slam on the night as the IronPigs beat the Gwinnett Braves 8-2.