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Puerto Rico advances in World Baseball Classic after defeating Italy 9-3

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Team Puerto Rico has emerged from Pool D undefeated after taking down Team Italy on Sunday for its third victory. They’re moving onto the next round, Pool F.

Italy opened up with two runs in the top of the first on John Andreloi’s two-run home run off of starter Jose Berrios. Puerto Rico struck back for a run in the bottom half on a Javier Baez single. Drew Butera homered in the second to put Italy back up two runs at 3-1. From there, however, it was all Puerto Rico.

An Enrique Hernandez single and a run-scoring ground ball double play from Angel Pagan tied the game up at 3-3 in the bottom of the second. Carlos Beltran doubled in a run in the third to give P.R. the lead. Carlos Correa drilled a three-run home run in the fourth to make it 7-3. Hernandez tripled in a run, then scored in the fifth to make it 9-3.

Berrios wound up pitching five innings, giving up the three runs on two hits and a walk with six strikeouts. He threw 62 pitches in total. Hiram Burgos took over in the sixth and pitched three no-hit innings, yielding just a walk with one strikeout on 36 pitches. Miguel Mejia pitched the ninth, working around a one-out single to close out the ballgame with a 9-3 victory for Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico has advanced from Pool D to the next round, Pool F. They’re joined by the D.R. which also won its third game on Sunday. Pool F opens up play on Tuesday at Petco Park in San Diego. Italy is now 1-2 and awaits the results of Sunday night’s game between Venezuela (1-1) and Mexico (0-2).

Cubs sign Jeremy Jeffress

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The Chicago Cubs have signed reliever Jeremy Jeffress to a one-year, $850,000 deal.

While Jeffress is coming off a bad year — due mostly to hip and shoulder problems — this is a surprisingly low figure for Jeffress, who was said to have had a “sizable market” last September, with the Mets, Phillies, Reds, and Rays all rumored to be in on him. It’s also worth noting that he is just a year removed from an excellent 1.29 ERA season with the Brewers. He is reported to be eligible for $200,000 in incentives, which could bring this deal closer to what a reliever of his caliber’s going rate might be.

As for the Cubs, they haven’t been particularly active this offseason — indeed, this is their first free agent acquisition — but I suppose we should give them credit for buying low on a guy who should probably be able to help their bullpen.