Sean Rodriguez beats Reid Brignac for Rays’ shortstop job

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Reid Brignac’s foot injury opened the door for Sean Rodriguez to overtake him on the Rays’ shortstop depth chart and sure enough manager Joe Maddon announced that Rodriguez will open the season as the primary starter.

Brignac (.742 OPS) and Rodriguez (.743 OPS) had nearly identical production this spring, but Brignac was limited to just 13 games while Rodriguez was in the lineup 21 times.

Last season the Rays’ shortstop starts went 76 for Brignac, 49 for Rodriguez, and 37 for Elliot Johnson, who remains on the team as a utility man.

Both are solid defenders and neither has hit much in the majors, although Rodriguez has topped Brignac by 100 points of OPS despite both players sporting a sub-.240 batting average. If nothing else Rodriguez brings significantly more power to the table than Brignac, along with being healthier for now.

Dodgers sign OF Jason Heyward to minor league deal

Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
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LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Dodgers signed outfielder Jason Heyward to a minor league deal and invited him to spring training.

The 33-year-old was released by the Chicago Cubs earlier this offseason.

Heyward, who was injured at times last season, put up the worst offensive numbers of his career, batting .204 and with 10 RBIs and one home run in 137 plate appearances. However, he’s a valuable defender in the outfield.

The deal reunites Heyward with first baseman Freddie Freeman. They came up through the Atlanta Braves system and have remained friends ever since.

Heyward was a leader in the Cubs’ clubhouse, helping them win the 2016 World Series.