Pirates “steamed” Derrek Lee is “taking his time getting here”

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Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review just posted an interesting note on Twitter saying: “Privately, folks in Pirates clubhouse are steamed Derrek Lee is taking his time getting here.”

Of course, it couldn’t have been all that private if a newspaper reporter knows about it.

Biertempfel notes that Hunter Pence took a late-night flight across the country to be in the Phillies’ lineup as soon as possible, whereas Lee only has to travel from New York (where the Orioles are playing the Yankees) to Philadelphia (where the Pirates are playing the Phillies).

And since Lee hasn’t arrived yet, the Pirates are giving Lyle Overbay what could be his final start at first base this afternoon.

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.