Rangers exercise $1 million option on Yoshinori Tateyama

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Yoshinori Tateyama was removed from the Rangers’ roster for the World Series, but yesterday the team exercised its $1 million option on the right-handed reliever for 2012.

Tateyama signed with the Rangers last winter following a lengthy career in Japan and began the season in the minors at age 35, but was called up in May and proved to be very effective despite a high-80s fastball.

He threw 44 innings with a 4.40 ERA and 44/13 K/BB ratio, holding opponents to a .220 batting average. Tateyama’s lack of velocity and trouble keeping the ball in the ballpark may stop him from taking on a high-leverage bullpen role for Texas, but he should be a solid middle reliever and $1 million is a bargain.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.