Yankees win negotiating rights for Japan’s Hiroyuki Nakajima

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From FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal comes word that the Yankees have won exclusive negotiating rights for Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima.

Rumors flew Tuesday that the Giants had made the only posting bid. Then it was the Red Sox. But both of those reports were quickly shot down.

According to David Waldstein of the New York Times, the Yanks are viewing the 29-year-old Nakajima as a potential utility infielder.

He batted .297/.354/.433 with 16 homers, 100 RBI and 21 stolen bases this past season for the Seibu Lions and is a .302 career hitter in Japan’s top professional league.

The Yankees will now enter into an exclusive negotiating period with Nakajima. They’re unlikely to offer him a hefty contract given that they’re already paying a posting fee and don’t view him as a starter.

UPDATE: SI’s Jon Heyman reports that the posting fee cost the Yankees about $2 million.

Marcus Stroman dealing with blister again

Marcus Stroman
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Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman might be headed to the disabled list soon, manager John Gibbons told reporters following Friday’s rain-shortened loss to the Yankees. The righty lasted just four innings on the mound before calling it a night, and gave up five runs, six hits and two walks in a performance that Gibbons claimed was at least partially affected by recurring blister issues on his right middle finger. Now, it looks like he might be removed from the rotation for some much-needed rest and rehabilitation; if so, it’ll be his second such stint this year.

Stroman, 27, has struggled to return the kind of winning record and sub-4.00 ERA that characterized his previous seasons with the club, mostly due to the combined seven weeks he missed with blisters on his throwing hand and chronic fatigue in his right shoulder. In a recent start against the Rays, things got even more gruesome when his blister appeared to start bleeding in the middle of his outing and MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm notes that the wound has constantly interfered with the right-hander’s pitch selection and delivery. When healthy, Stroman has managed a 4-8 record through 18 starts in 2018 with a career-worst 5.27 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 6.8 SO/9 in 100 2/3 innings. This will be the first year since 2015 in which he has not logged at least 200 innings in a single season.

While Stroman may not need an extended stay on the DL before he returns to the mound, it’s not clear what kind of timetable the Blue Jays expect for his recovery. He’s been the second-most valuable starter (behind the now-traded J.A. Happ) in a rotation that currently ranks 17th in the majors with a combined 4.90 ERA and 6.8 fWAR.