Rays sign reliever Grant Balfour to a minor league deal

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Following a disastrous outing against the Yankees on April 18, reliever Grant Balfour was designated for assignment by the Rays. He was granted his release several days ago, as the Rays chose to eat his $7 million salary for the 2015 season.

Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, however, reports that the Rays have signed the 37-year-old Balfour again, this time to a minor league deal. He is expected to report to Triple-A Durham.

Over the last two seasons, Balfour’s fastball velocity declined precipitously, going from 93.4 MPH on average in 2013 to 91.6 MPH last season and 89.4 MPH in a handful of innings to begin the 2015 campaign. He finished with a 4.91 ERA and a 57/41 K/BB ratio in 62 1/3 innings last year.

Nelson Cruz hits 400th career home run

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Twins DH Nelson Cruz hit his 400th career home run, a solo home run in the fourth inning of Sunday’s game against the Royals. The blast padded the Twins’ lead to 8-6, and was also No. 40 on the season for Cruz.

Cruz, 39, is the 57th member of the 400-homer club. He was previously tied with Andres Galarraga and Al Kaline at 399. Cruz has hit 163 of his homers with the Mariners, 157 with the Rangers, and 40 each with the Orioles and Twins.

Cruz entered Sunday batting .300/.383/.624 with 104 RBI in 500 plate appearances. Pretty good production for the Twins from a slugger on a one-year, $14.3 million contract. The Twins hold a $12 million club option for 2020 as well.