UPDATE: OK, so apparently Matt Albers isn’t going to Japan

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UPDATE: So much for all that. I’m now told by a reliable source that it’s not true. Kind of a weirdly random thing for Mullen to report inaccurately, but oh well. Sorry to get everyone so excited by the huge non-news!

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Maureen Mullen reports that the Red Sox have released Matt Albers “to allow him to play in Japan.”

She adds that Boston “will receive an undisclosed sum of money” for cutting Albers loose, which is relatively standard for MLB-to-Japan moves and in this case presumably takes the Red Sox off the hook for the one-year, $875,000 deal he signed with them after being non-tendered by the Orioles in December.

Albers had a 4.62 ERA and poor 124/92 K/BB ratio in 193 innings spread over three years in Baltimore.

Brandon Crawford homers off brother-in-law Gerrit Cole

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You can’t pick your family and no one knows that better than Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford. His sister Amy married Astros starter Gerrit Cole in November 2016, so the two players are brothers-in-law.

The two players have matched up against each other 18 times in the past, as Cole spent his first five seasons in the National League with the Pirates. Cole often won that battle, holding Crawford to four hits — all singles — in 18 plate appearances.

Crawford finally got the better of Cole on Tuesday night, hitting a line drive into the appropriately-named Crawford Boxes at Minute Maid Park for a two-run home run, cutting the Astros’ lead to 5-2.