Andy Pettitte gives up five runs in Triple-A start

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Making his first Triple-A start since beginning his comeback, Andy Pettitte gave up five runs — three earned — and eight hits in five innings Sunday against the Pawtucket Red Sox.

Pettitte wasn’t helped by his defense in the game. First baseman Steve Pearce dropped a foul popup on the very first play of the game, and Pedro Ciriaco went on to hit a double in the at-bat, starting a two-run inning that Pettitte only got out of by picking off Lars Anderson at first base. There was another error in the second.

The 39-year-old Pettitte did end the outing by retiring the final five hitters he faced. He threw 59 of his 92 pitches for strikes.

Pettitte has now made four minor league starts and given up 10 runs — seven earned — in 17 innings overall. He’s struck out 13 and walked three. His pitch count is built up to the point that he’s now a viable option for the Yankee rotation. However, given his mediocre showing today, it’d probably make sense to give him one more Triple-A start.

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.