Phillies void contract with Juan Cruz

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Juan Cruz signed a minor-league deal with the Phillies last month, but failed to report to camp yesterday because of what general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. called a “miscommunication issue.”

It must have been one helluva miscommunication, because Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reports that Cruz and the Phillies have agreed to “mutually rescind” his contract–which was never officially signed because he didn’t take a physical exam–and the 34-year-old reliever is now a free agent again.

Cruz’s deal included an invitation to spring training and an opt-out clause that allowed him to leave the organization if he wasn’t in the majors by June 1, but apparently he was pessimistic about his odds of making the team after the Phillies signed Chad Durbin. Last season the Pirates released Cruz in August despite a 2.78 ERA in 36 innings because he refused an assignment to the minors.

Masahiro Tanaka to throw off a mound this weekend

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Earlier this month Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka strained both of his hamstrings while running the bases in an interleague game against the Mets and was sent to the 10-day DL. Today it was announced that the beginning of the end of most DL stints for pitchers — throwing off of a mound — is in Tanaka’s immediate future.

Tanaka is scheduled to throw off a mound Sunday, which will be his first real (well, fake real) pitching action since the June 9th injury. Assuming the session goes well, Tanaka is expected to return to the Yankees’ starting rotation sometime in early-to-mid July. With the All-Star break coming the week of July 16, it would not be hard to imagine the Yankees giving him a few extra days to get right.

Tanaka is 7-2 with a 4.58 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 73/19 in 72.2 innings on the season.