Author: Aaron Gleeman

Huston Street Angels

Huston Street hired an agent for the first time since 2012 to negotiate an extension with the Angels

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Huston Street has represented himself without an agent since 2012, but since he’s still in contract extension talks with the Angels and the season has started the veteran closer has hired agent Alan Hendricks to do the negotiating.

There was some speculation that the Angels were waiting to finalize a deal with Street until they got a ruling on a potential refund for Josh Hamilton’s salary, but now that they won’t be getting any of that money back the talks with Street can continue ahead of his free agency next offseason.

Street saved 17 games with a 1.71 ERA for the Angels after coming over from the Padres in mid-July and has a 1.97 ERA in 155 innings during the past three seasons. At age 31 he’s been a high-level closer for a decade and figures to be looking for something in the same range David Robertson (four years, $46 million) got from the White Sox this winter.

Orioles activate Chris Davis from 25-game suspension

chris davis getty
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With his 25-game suspension that carried over from last season now completed the Orioles have activated Chris Davis for tonight’s game against the Rays.

In order to hit the 25-game mark Davis was suspended for the Orioles’ final 17 regular season games and seven postseason games, plus the first game of this season.

He was suspended for using Adderall without an MLB-approved exemption, which he had in 2013 and has again for this season but failed to secure for 2014. Tonight he’s in the lineup at designated hitter and batting fifth.

In addition to the suspension Davis is also trying to get his on-field production back on track after he followed up an MVP-caliber 2013 campaign by hitting .196 with 173 strikeouts in 123 games on the way to a 300-point drop in OPS.

Luke Hochevar eyes May return to the Royals’ bullpen

Luke Hochevar AP
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Kansas City didn’t end up missing Luke Hochevar much last season because the bullpen was ridiculously good without him, but now he’s close to being healthy again after Tommy John surgery and perhaps the Royals could use another late-inning option.

After being a bust as a starter Hochevar shifted to the bullpen full time in 2013 and threw 70 innings with a 1.92 ERA and 82/17 K/BB ratio. He looked pretty good in a handful of spring training outings and Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star reports that the former No. 1 overall pick is building up arm strength at Triple-A in the hopes of being ready at some point in May.

Hochevar told McCullough that to throw “back-to-back days and be able to repeat my stuff” are the two biggest remaining keys to his recovery.

Cubs release outfielder Ryan Sweeney, eat $1.5 million

ryan sweeney sliding getty
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Unable to find a taker for Ryan Sweeney after designating him for assignment, the Cubs have released the veteran outfielder.

Sweeney was a relatively productive semi-regular for the A’s and Cubs from 2008-2013, but he hit just .251 with a .642 OPS in 77 games last season and was pushed out of Chicago’s outfield mix.

However, as part of a multi-year contract signed in October of 2013 he’s owed $1.5 million for this season and a $500,000 buyout for 2016. Chicago is on the hook for that money and Sweeney is now free to sign anywhere for whatever he can get.

Chad Billingsley is close to joining the Phillies’ rotation

Chad Billingsley
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Philadelphia’s starting rotation may soon get some much-needed help, as Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that veteran right-hander Chad Billingsley “has nearly completed his comeback from two elbow surgeries.”

Billingsley will begin a minor-league rehab assignment Friday at Triple-A and “could be in the Phillies’ rotation sometime during the third week of April.” Assuming everything continues to go smoothly with his comeback, of course.

Billingsley, who signed an incentive-laden one-year deal with the Phillies, spent seven-plus seasons as a solid mid-rotation starter for the Dodgers. He posted a 3.65 ERA in 1,175 innings and if he’s healthy for the first time since 2012 could emerge as the Phillies’ second-best starter.