Trevor Bauer is back pitching at Triple-A after shut down

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Arizona shut down Trevor Bauer for two weeks in an effort to keep his workload in check and give him some rest, but the top prospect and No. 3 overall pick in the 2011 draft is back to pitching at Triple-A.

And he tossed six shutout innings in his return Monday, striking out five.

In addition to the time off Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports that the Diamondbacks “have preached to him” the importance of being more efficient with his pitches, which makes sense considering his shaky control. Last night he needed just 80 pitches to record 18 outs and walked two batters, and Gilbert also notes that Bauer’s fastball topped out at 96 miles per hour.

Astros officially announce the Michael Brantley signing

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The Astros officially announced their signing of outfielder Michael Brantley to a two-year, $32 million deal.

Brantley, 31, played a mostly full season last year for the first time since 2015. He hit .309/.364/.468 with 17 home runs, 76 RBI, 89 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases in 631 plate appearances. He made the AL All-Star squad for the third time in his career.

As previously reported, the Astros plan to rotate Brantley between left field, first base, and DH.

Merry Christmas, Mr. Brantley.