Scott Elarton begins comeback with two perfect innings

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36-year-old Scott Elarton, last seen in the majors four years ago with the Royals, started his comeback with the Phillies on Monday and pitched two perfect innings against the Yankees.

He got four groundouts and a flyout before punching out Eric Chavez to conclude his day.

Elarton picked an odd team with which to attempt his comeback, given that the Phillies already have a set rotation, two fine fallback starters in Joel Pineiro and Kyle Kendrick and a seemingly full bullpen, but he can hope to impress one of the other teams this spring.

Once a top prospect in the Astros chain, Elarton won 17 games as a 24-year-old in 2000, but shoulder problems rendered him ineffective after that. He has a lifetime record of 56-61 with a 5.29 ERA. His last year as a semi-effective starter came in 2005, when he went 11-9 with a 4.61 ERA for Cleveland.

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.