Rich Hill agrees to minor league deal with Indians

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Rich Hill, who came back from elbow problems to pitch well down the stretch for the Red Sox last season, has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Indians that includes an invitation to spring training.

Hill has been plagued by arm problems throughout his career, but when healthy he’s shown the potential to be a valuable reliever with a 1.14 ERA and 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings in limited MLB action from 2010-2012.

Cleveland already had a relatively deep group of bullpen options in place, but Hill could work his way into a middle relief or left-handed specialist gig.

Pirates pitcher Steven Brault sang the National Anthem last night

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Pittsburgh Pirates swingman Steven Brault has a 4.38 ERA in 19 games this year. He also has a music degree and is a professional singer on the side of his baseball gig. He didn’t get into last night’s game against the Brewers as a pitcher, but he did get to use his singing skills.

Specifically, Brault got to sing the National Anthem. And he did an OK job of it too. He’s not Whitney Houston or anything, but he did what all Anthem singers who are not as gifted as Whitney Houston was should do: he kept it straight and businesslike, avoiding unnecessary flourishes:

It’s march, dang it, not a ballad, and it should be treated as such. Unless of course you’re Whitney Houston.