Marlins catcher John Baker to undergo Tommy John surgery

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Marlins starting catcher John Baker has been out since mid-May with an elbow injury and after suffering a setback while rehabbing in the minors last week Dr. James Andrews has determined that he needs Tommy John surgery.
The good news for Baker is that position players tend to come back from Tommy John surgery much sooner than pitchers. The bad news is that being a catcher who can’t afford to have problems throwing complicates that and either way he’s likely to miss a big chunk of next season.
“Super frustrating, but at least I can move forward,” Baker told Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. “I’m really happy to put this behind me and move forward. It’s been a rough year for me.”
Baker has been sidelined for over three months already, backup Ronny Paulino was recently suspended 50 games for performance-enhancing drugs, and third-stringer Brett Hayes is out with a separated shoulder thanks to Nyjer Morgan, so the Marlins have signed 35-year-old Mike Rivera just to provide some catching depth for the final month.

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.