Liam Hendriks was supposed to sub for the injured Scott Baker as the No. 3 starter in the Twins’ rotation, but he was scratched from his scheduled Sunday start and hospitalized with food poisoning.
Anthony Swarzak did a nice job filling in for the guy who was supposed to be filling in, but Hendriks’ availability for this week is now in question because as manager Ron Gardenhire put it: “I don’t think it would be a good idea for him to get on an airplane.”
Minnesota had hoped Baker would miss just one start, in which case Hendriks would likely be headed back to Triple-A, but now Baker is expected to be out for a significant chunk of time and if the 23-year-old prospect can shake the food poisoning he should have ample opportunity to show he belongs in the majors.
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.