Opening Day in the minor leagues

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With the minor league season starting today, Baseball America has released a list of where its top 100 prospects will open the season.
Among those skipping levels this year are Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon and Astros right-hander Jordan Lyles, both of whom are moving from low-A ball right to Double-A.
It’s not surprising in either case. Lyles actually probably would have spent a portion of last year in high-A under normal circumstances, but the Astros’ Lancaster affiliate in the California League is a horrible place for pitchers.
Also notable is that two of the Rays’ top prospects are starting the year on the DL. Both outfielder Desmond Jennings and shortstop Tim Beckham are dealing with wrist injuries. Jennings, who could be the team’s center fielder next year, is expected to join Triple-A Durham later this month. Beckham, the first overall pick in the 2008 draft, is slated to play for high-A Charlotte once healthy.
Finally, Stephen Strasburg is set to make his debut for Double-A Harrisburg on Sunday, with ESPNews providing live coverage.

Dodgers sign OF Jason Heyward to minor league deal

Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
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LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Dodgers signed outfielder Jason Heyward to a minor league deal and invited him to spring training.

The 33-year-old was released by the Chicago Cubs earlier this offseason.

Heyward, who was injured at times last season, put up the worst offensive numbers of his career, batting .204 and with 10 RBIs and one home run in 137 plate appearances. However, he’s a valuable defender in the outfield.

The deal reunites Heyward with first baseman Freddie Freeman. They came up through the Atlanta Braves system and have remained friends ever since.

Heyward was a leader in the Cubs’ clubhouse, helping them win the 2016 World Series.