Fred Lewis signs with Japanese team

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Not so long ago I thought Fred Lewis was an underrated all-around player who deserved an extended opportunity to be an everyday outfielder, but he’s been injured and ineffective for the past two seasons.

And now he’s headed to Japan, as Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker reports that Lewis has signed a one-year deal with the Hiroshima Carp worth $400,000 plus $150,000 in potential incentives and a team option for 2014.

Lewis is a 32-year-old career .266 hitter with a solid .747 OPS for the Giants, Blue Jays, Reds, and Mets, but he’s stretched defensively in center field and spent most of this year putting up good but not great numbers at Triple-A.

Michael Pineda throws off mound for first time since Tommy John surgery

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According to MLB.com associate reporter Jarrid Denney, right-hander Michael Pineda threw off a mound Wednesday morning at Target Field for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Pineda was signed to a two-year, $10 million free agent contract this winter by the Twins, who are probably more focused on what he might be able to do in 2019 rather than 2018.

He had the reconstructive elbow surgery last July 18, so he won’t be an option for the Minnesota rotation until probably late August or September of this year. Still, that deal seems like a nice gamble given the price point and the possibility that he will regain his form as a No. 2 or No. 3 starter. That he’s making steady progress in his rehab makes the situation all the more encouraging.

Pineda, 29, holds a 4.05 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and 687 strikeouts in 680 career major league innings.