Astros sign Jesse Crain

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Hey, actual news on December 31!

Jesse Crain has agreed to a one-year contract with the Astros, who add the veteran right-hander to a bullpen mix that also recently added Chad Qualls on a two-year, $6 million deal.

Crain was having a career-year for the White Sox when shoulder problems derailed him in late June. At the time he had a 0.74 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 37 innings and he was actually traded to the Rays while on the disabled list, but Crain never threw another pitch in 2013.

Obviously he’s a big question mark, but it’s a good fit for both sides. If healthy Crain will be the Astros’ best late-inning option and getting a chance in the closer role could lead to a nice payday when he hits the open market again next offseason at age 32.

John Axford has a small break in his fibula

Associated Press
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Dodgers reliever John Axford was deemed “unavailable” before last night’s game against the Giants. After the game it was revealed that he will miss up to three weeks due to a break in the tip of his fibula he suffered when he was hit by a comebacker on Sunday. It’s being characterized as a “crack.”

As if the Dodgers need more injuries and/or maladies, especially to their beleaguered bullpen.

Axford was acquired by L.A. at the trade deadline and, with Kenley Jansen out indefinitely, it was thought that he could get some opportunities to close. Now that’s out the window at least into September, it seems.