Jon Heyman: Twins are still serious about signing Mike Napoli

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports hears that the Twins are still seriously pursuing free agent first baseman Mike Napoli. The two sides don’t appear close to a deal at the moment, however, and Napoli has also attracted interest from both the Mets and Rays over the past month. Still, Heyman adds, the slugger would bring a much-needed boost to the club’s lineup and his connection to both president Derek Falvey and GM Thad Levine could give them a welcome advantage in negotiations.

Napoli, 36, is coming off of one of the worst performances of his career. He took a one-year contract with the Rangers in 2017 and slashed a meager .193/.285/.428 in 485 plate appearances, despite an impressive 29 home runs and .713 OPS. Outside of his power surge, part of his overall decline in value can be attributed to injuries, from a lower back strain to a stress reaction in his right leg. In December, it was revealed that the veteran infielder had played the entire season with a torn ligament in his right hand, which was later corrected through surgery.

Warts and all, Napoli still looks like a good fit for the Twins, who could utilize him at DH or stash him behind Joe Mauer at first base. Earlier this week, both MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand and Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press said talks between the two weren’t “as intense as [was] being reported,” and Berardino pointed out that pitching remains the top priority for the club as they look toward the 2018 season.

Tyler Glasnow scheduled to rejoin Rays’ rotation

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Tyler Glasnow is scheduled to rejoin the rotation at Cleveland after missing nearly 14 months because of Tommy John surgery.

The Rays’ Opening Day starter last year hasn’t pitched this season after undergoing the procedure on Aug. 4, 2021.

“I think we’re pretty confident he’ll be starting for us,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said before the game with Toronto. “This is the first time he’s thrown pain-free in quite some time, so he’s encouraged by it.”

The 6-foot-8 right-hander went 5-2 with a 2.66 ERA in 14 starts last year and is a key addition as the Rays near a wild-card spot.

“Compared to the past, like, three years it feels way better as far as postday and the week leading into starts and stuff,” Glasnow said. “It’s good to have an UCL, you know.”

Cash said Glasnow will throw around 45 pitches in his initial outing, which should allow him to go two or three innings.

“Two innings of Glasnow is still a huge plus for our team,” Cash said. “Like to get three innings. If we do, great. If we don’t, that’s fine, too.”

Glasnow allowed one run, one hit, four walks and had 14 strikeouts over seven innings in four starts with Triple-A Durham.

“I’m really excited,” Glasnow said. “I’m approaching it like normal, staying on routine. Feels normal.”

Glasnow signed a two-year, $30.35 million contract that will delay the start of his free agency by one year last month. He’s making $5.1 million this year and will get $5.35 million next season and $25 million in 2024, which is the first year he would have been eligible for free agency.