Orioles sign Heath Bell to a minor league deal

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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Orioles have signed reliever Heath Bell to a minor league deal, and MASN’s Roch Kubatko confirms the deal. Yesterday, D.J. Short mentioned that the Orioles were one of the four teams expected to land the right-hander.

Bell, 36, was released by the Rays on Sunday, about a week after he had allowed three runs in an inning of work against the Yankees. Bell had struggled for them all season long, however, posting a 7.27 ERA with a 12/8 K/BB ratio in 17 1/3 innings.

The Orioles have had some issues at the back of the bullpen, as closer Tommy Hunter has a 6.60 ERA and three blown saves despite leading the league in converted saves with 11.

Cardinals tab Miles Mikolas for Opening Day start

Miles Mikolas
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The Cardinals have selected right-hander Miles Mikolas as their Opening Day starter, the club revealed Saturday. It’ll mark the first career Opening Day start for Mikolas, who is scheduled to go up against the Brewers when the team hits the road on March 28.

The 29-year-old righty was a strong contender for the 2018 NL Cy Young Award, earning All-Star distinctions and pitching to a career-best 18-4 record with a 2.83 ERA, 1.3 BB/9, 6.5 SO/9, and 4.3 fWAR over 200 2/3 innings. He’s positioned to lead the Cardinals rotation in 2019 as well, with former Opening Day starters Carlos Martínez and Adam Wainwright and some combination of right-handers Jack Flaherty, Michael Wacha, Alex Reyes, and John Gant behind him.

Manager Mike Shildt told reporters that Flaherty, Wacha, Wainwright, and Martínez had all been considered for the honor, but admitted that Opening Day honors were ultimately handed to Mikolas “in recognition of [his performance] last year.” The Cardinals are scheduled to play a four-game set against the Brewers to start the season and will stop over in Pittsburgh for another two games before returning to St. Louis for their opening homestand against the Padres on April 4. Additional pitching assignments have yet to be announced.