Reds ink Jay Bruce to six-year, $51M contract extension

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From ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick comes word that the Reds have signed outfielder Jay Bruce to a six-year, $51 million contract extension with a seventh-year club option that could bring the total worth of the deal to $63 million.

Bruce was a first-year arbitration-eligible player.  He could have taken a path that would have meant negotiating raises year-to-year but that also provides a quicker path to free agency.  Instead, he committed himself long-term to the Reds and will play out his prime years in Cincinnati.

The 23-year-old registered a rock solid .281/.353/.493 batting line, 25 home runs and 70 RBI in 2010 for the National League Central champion Reds.  He took a bit longer than expected to fully develop, but he’s a real-deal run producer now and is likely to mash in Great American Ballpark throughout the course of the contract.

The Reds inked starter Bronson Arroyo to a three-year, $35 million extension earlier this month.  They haven’t been too active on the free agent market, but at least the Red Legs are keeping their core intact.

Winning the NL Central in 2010 wasn’t a fluke and Cincy has all the pieces to do it again.

Masahiro Tanaka to throw off a mound this weekend

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Earlier this month Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka strained both of his hamstrings while running the bases in an interleague game against the Mets and was sent to the 10-day DL. Today it was announced that the beginning of the end of most DL stints for pitchers — throwing off of a mound — is in Tanaka’s immediate future.

Tanaka is scheduled to throw off a mound Sunday, which will be his first real (well, fake real) pitching action since the June 9th injury. Assuming the session goes well, Tanaka is expected to return to the Yankees’ starting rotation sometime in early-to-mid July. With the All-Star break coming the week of July 16, it would not be hard to imagine the Yankees giving him a few extra days to get right.

Tanaka is 7-2 with a 4.58 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 73/19 in 72.2 innings on the season.