<span class="vcard">D.J. Short</span>

Rafael Soriano

Report: Cubs have looked into signing Rafael Soriano

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Rafael Soriano remains unsigned almost two months into the season, but Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com hears that the Cubs are among several teams who have considered bringing the veteran reliever aboard.

Soriano, 35, is currently training in the Dominican Republic and has been throwing to live hitters in preparation for game action. His agent, Scott Boras, told Mooney on Thursday that teams are “reaching out” and he’s “pretty close to structuring a deal for him.”

The Marlins were briefly mentioned as a possible fit last week with Steve Cishek being moved out of the closer role, but they apparently aren’t willing to give Soriano the salary he covets. The Cubs entered play Thursday with a disappointing 4.20 ERA out of their bullpen, but Hector Rondon isn’t in any danger to lose his closer job. If the price is right, they’d likely look at Soriano as a set-up man.

Soriano posted a 3.19 ERA and 59/19 K/BB ratio in 62 innings with the Nationals last season, but he really struggled during the second half and found himself booted from the closer role in September.

Coco Crisp got “disheartening news” about his neck injury

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 17:  Coco Crisp #4 of the Oakland Athletics runs the bases against the Chicago White Sox in the bottom of the fourth inning at O.co Coliseum on May 17, 2015 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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Coco Crisp left Tuesday’s game with tightness in his neck and was scheduled to go for an MRI today. No word yet on the official diagnosis, but this isn’t very promising:

Athletics manager Bob Melvin said after Tuesday’s game that the injury is similar to Crisp’s neck strain from last year. The 35-year-old didn’t miss a lot of time with the injury, but he played through discomfort for most of the second half and finished with a disappointing .246/.336/.363 batting line.

Crisp missed all of April while rehabbing from arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow and has really struggled since his return, hitting .044 (2-for-45) over 13 games.

Ben Revere says he’s not bothered by trade speculation

ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 29: Ben Revere #2 of the Philadelphia Phillies rounds third base in an attempt to score a run against the St. Louis Cardinals in the fifth inning at Busch Stadium on April 29, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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It was reported earlier this week that scouts from other teams are “tracking” Phillies outfielder Ben Revere for a potential trade. Revere is aware of the speculation the situation he finds himself in these days, but he told Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com today that he isn’t bothered by it.

“This is a business,” Revere said. “When Asche and Dom come back, we’re going to have a lot of outfielders and someone might be out. I just have to prepare to help my team win whether it’s here or somewhere else. Just bust my tail and try to stay in the lineup.”

Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reported yesterday that the Angels and Phillies have been discussing a trade involving Revere in recent weeks and Salisbury hears that those talks are “real.” Matt Joyce has been a big disappointment this season and Angels owner Arte Moreno willingly ate a lot of money to cut ties with Josh Hamilton, so the team is on the lookout for help in left field.

Revere was moved to left field this season in order for Odubel Herrera to get an opportunity in center field, but he doesn’t fit the typical profile of a corner outfielder. The 27-year-old is a .289 career hitter and offers plenty of speed, but he doesn’t walk and doesn’t hit for power. He had an 85 OPS+ for his career coming into Thursday’s action.

Revere, 27, is owed $4.1 million this season and is under team control through 2017. He’s unlikely to net the Phillies a top prospect.

Brewers reliever Will Smith ejected from game due to having foreign substance on arm

(NEW YORK DAILIES OUT)    in action against the at Citi Field on May 17, 2015 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Brewers 5-1.
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Brewers reliever Will Smith was ejected from Thursday’s game against the Braves in the bottom of the seventh inning after he was found to have a foreign substance on his non-throwing arm.

Smith entered the game in relief of Matt Garza and hit Pedro Ciriaco with a pitch before throwing a first-pitch strike to Jace Peterson. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez then asked the umpires to check for a substance near Smith’s right wrist/forearm area. It looked a lot like Vaseline, which he could use to change the movement of his pitches. Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel notes that Smith was furious after he was ejected and was gesturing toward the Braves’ dugout as he walked off the field.

Below is a video of the exchange as well as a picture of the substance on Smith’s arm. It’s not hard to spot.

source:

Here’s the explanation from Smith, who said he was only using the substance for grip:

And here are some interesting thoughts from Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman. Similar to the Michael Pineda situation from last year, it’s all quite silly when you really think about it:

Masahiro Tanaka throws three scoreless innings in minor league rehab start

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 20: Pitcher Masahiro Tanaka #19 of the New York Yankees works out prior to the Yankees baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on May 20, 2015 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Washington Nationals/Getty Images)
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Masahiro Tanaka took his first step toward rejoining the Yankees rotation tonight by tossing three scoreless innings in a minor league rehab start with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Tanaka, who landed on the disabled list one month ago with a mild right forearm strain and right wrist tendinitis, allowed two hits while walking none and striking out a pair. David Lennon of New York Newsday notes that he threw 25 out of 41 pitches for strikes and sat in the 89-92 mph range with his fastball. Perhaps most importantly, he felt good:

The Yankees will likely have Tanaka get stretched out with one or two more rehab starts before activating him.

Amid questions about the ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow, Tanaka had a 3.22 ERA and 24/7 K/BB ratio in 22 1/3 innings over his first four starts this season prior to being placed on the disabled list.