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Blue Jays sign Nick Tepesch to a minor-league deal

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Free agent right-hander Nick Tepesch has a minor league deal with the Blue Jays, per a team announcement on Saturday. The deal does not include an invitation to spring training.

Tepesch, 29, was originally acquired by the Blue Jays when the Twins dealt him for cash considerations last July. He made just three starts with the club in 2017, turning in a 5.14 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 4.5 SO/9 over 14 innings. While he looked a little better in Triple-A Buffalo, he has yet to prove himself as a viable starter in the big leagues. The righty hasn’t seen a full major league season since 2014, due in part to a prolonged recovery from thoracic outlet syndrome in 2015.

Whether he’ll get there anytime soon is unclear, but the Blue Jays don’t appear to have big plans for him either way. Tepesch will likely slot in behind right-hander Joe Biagini as rotation depth, should injuries continue to trouble the team’s projected top five starters: Marcus Stroman, J.A. Happ, Aaron Sanchez, Marco Estrada and Jaime Garcia.

Daniel Murphy will miss the start of the season

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Daniel Murphy said today that he will not be ready for Opening Day and will start the year on the disabled list.

Murphy had microfracture knee surgery last October. While he has been able to take batting practice and field ground balls, his lateral movement is still limited. In his absence — which is not expected to last past mid-April or so — Howie Kendrick will get the bulk of the playing time at second base.

Murphy hit .322/.384/.543, smacked 23 homers and knocked in 93 RBI in 2017.