Jermaine Dye drawing only minor interest, likely to retire

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Jermaine Dye, ladies and gentlemen, is about to say goodbye to professional baseball.

According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, the free agent outfielder, now 37 years old, has only drawn minor league contract offers from interested big league clubs this offseason and only wants to continue his playing career if guaranteed a roster spot.  Fair enough.

Dye wore the jersey of four different teams during his playing career — the Braves, Royals, A’s and White Sox — and will leave behind 325 career home runs and a .274/.338/.488 career batting line.

“I would still like to play, but I think my choices have passed and teams have gone with other people,” Dye said Wednesday.  “I will continue to stay in shape and hopefully someone will call. If nothing gets done by the end of the spring, I may call it a career.”

The native of northern California probably could have made some noise as a part-time designated hitter in the American League this season, but his bad range defensively made him unattractive to teams who prefer flexibility.  He posted a respectable .250/.340/.453 batting line and 27 home runs in 2009, his last year as a big leaguer.  So, hey, the guy can tell the world that he went out on top.

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.