Twins add WBC hero Samuel Deduno to the rotation

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When last we saw Samuel Deduno he was playing hero for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic, beating the United States and then Puerto Rico to win the title.

He ended up not making the Twins out of spring training because of a groin injury suffered during the WBC, but Deduno is healthy now and after three starts at Triple-A the Twins are calling him up to become their fifth starter.

Deduno walked 10 batters in 16 innings at Triple-A, which is pretty standard for him and the biggest reason why there’s lots of skepticism about his being able to succeed in the majors long term. For now at least he’s getting the nod ahead of top prospect Kyle Gibson, but Deduno’s leash may not be particularly long.

Last season Deduno stepped into the Twins’ injury wrecked rotation and posted a respectable 4.44 ERA in 15 starts despite nearly as many walks (53) as strikeouts (57) in 79 innings.

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.