So far, so good for Brandon McCarthy and the Yankees

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Right-hander Brandon McCarthy made his second start as a Yankee this afternoon, going up against the Reds in an inter-league match-up. McCarthy limited the Reds to one run over six innings, allowing six hits, walking none, and striking out nine. That makes it back-to-back solid starts for McCarthy in his new uniform after coming over from the Diamondbacks in a trade that sent Vidal Nuno to Arizona.

McCarthy allowed four runs over 6 2/3 innings to the Indians in his previous start, but only one of those runs was earned. He credits his recent success to his cut fastball. Via MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch, McCarthy says the Diamondbacks discouraged him from using the cutter, but the Yankees encouraged him to bring it back. He left the D-Backs with a 5.01 ERA ERA in 109 2/3 innings despite a stellar 93/20 K/BB ratio.

McCarthy, 31, will try to make it three solid starts in a row against the Rangers in his next start.

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.