Pirates re-sign Robert Andino

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Pittsburgh has re-signed veteran infielder Robert Andino to a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training.

Andino was traded from the Mariners to the Pirates in July, but spent the final two months of the season at Triple-A. He was a regular for the Orioles in 2011 and 2012, totaling 942 plate appearances while playing mostly second base in place of the injured Brian Roberts, but logged just 85 plate appearances in the majors last year.

He’ll have a tough time cracking the Opening Day roster unless the Pirates keep two utility men, because Clint Barmes is currently slated for that role.

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.