Adrian Gonzalez overtakes Mark Teixeira in AL All-Star balloting

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Adrian Gonzalez, who has driven in a run during each game of Boston’s current nine-game winning streak, has overtaken Mark Teixeira in the AL All-Star balloting in the update announced Tuesday.  He has 2,027,537 votes to 1,774,024 for Teixeira.

If Gonzalez can stay ahead of Teixeira, he might be the only non-Yankee infielder starting in Phoenix.  Robinson Cano has second base all locked up, while Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter are about 300,000 votes ahead of their closest competition (Adrian Beltre and Asdrubal Cabrera, respectively). Russell Martin is set to be the catcher.

The Yankees will also have a starter in the outfield, with Curtis Granderson nearly guaranteed a spot alongside leading vote-getter Jose Bautista.  Josh Hamilton has 350,000 votes on Jacoby Ellsbury for the third spot, with Ichiro Suzuki and Carl Crawford further behind.

The DH appears increasingly likely to be David Ortiz and deservedly so.  He’s opened up a 550,000 ballot lead on Michael Young.

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.