Pirates sign Jonathan Sanchez to minor league deal

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Jonathan Sanchez will try to resurrect his career in Pittsburgh, agreeing to a minor-league deal with the Pirates that includes an invitation to spring training.

Once upon a time Sanchez looked like a very promising young left-hander, but control problems have consistently wrecked any chance he had of emerging as a front-line starter and he was an absolute mess last season with an 8.07 ERA in 65 innings for the Royals and Rockies.

Kansas City gave up Melky Cabrera to get Sanchez from San Francisco last offseason and then he walked more batters than he struck out, was traded to Colorado, and then shut down in August with arm problems.

Sanchez had a 3.75 ERA in 458 innings from 2009-2011, so he’s not that far removed from being a plenty useful pitcher, but last season was so bad that it’s tough to imagine a successful bounce back.

53-year-old Rafael Palmeiro homers in independent league ball

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It was announced earlier this month that 53-year-old Rafael Palmeiro signed a contract with the Cleburne Railroaders of the independent American Association, joining his son, former minor leaguer Patrick Palmeiro. The four-time All-Star went 0-for-8 to begin his stint with the club before launching a solo homer in the fifth inning last night. Check it out below.

If we’re being technical here, that was his first home run since July 30, 2005. He hit the homer off 28-year-old Trey McNutt, former prospect with the Cubs and Padres. Palmeiro made his major league debut in 1986, three years before McNutt was born.

Palmeiro told Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic last December that he was thinking about a comeback, but he understandably didn’t garner any serious consideration from MLB teams. This comeback attempt might not lead anywhere, but hey, he gets to show that he can still mash while hitting in the same lineup with his son. Palmeiro did that once before with the independent Sugar Land Skeeters in 2015, though it was just a one-game thing. As for the Railroaders, the national media attention can only help them.

Palmeiro is one of just six players in MLB history to reach 3,000 hits and 500 home runs, but he’s been a disgraced figure in the game since a failed drug test for performance-enhancing drugs in 2005. He dropped off the Hall of Fame ballot in 2014.