Alfonso Soriano scratched from lineup with sprained right thumb

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Tough news for the Yankees. According to Tyler Kepner of the New York Times, Alfonso Soriano was a late scratch from today’s lineup against the Red Sox due to a sprained right thumb.

FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that Soriano apparently injured the thumb diving for a ball in Baltimore this week and has been bothered by it ever since. Early word is that it’s a day-to-day type of injury, so the Yankees will have to hope that it’s nothing more than that. They already lost outfielder Brett Gardner to a strained oblique on Thursday.

Soriano has been fantastic since returning to the Yankees on July 26, batting .251/.299/.525 with 15 home runs and 47 RBI in 46 games. He leads the majors in home runs and RBI during that timespan.

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.