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Yankees sign Neil Walker

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The Yankees have agreed to a one-year, $4 million contract with free agent second baseman Neil Walker. He can earn an additional $1 million in incentives. That’s a massive pay cut for Walker, who accepted the qualifying offer from the Mets last year, paying him $17.2 million.

Walker 32, hit .265/.362/.439 with 14 home runs in 448 PA with the Mets and Brewers last season. While that was a falloff from his 2016, part of his regression can be traced back to a left hamstring strain which landed him on the disabled list for over six weeks in June. All in all he was pretty close to his career norms last year, and saw his production improve after being traded to Milwaukee in August. In nine seasons, Walker has a line of .272/.341/.437 (OPS+ 113). The switch-hitting Walker has slugged considerably higher as a lefty in the course of his career, so the short porch in right field is going to treat him pretty well.

Until this signing, the Yankees had a pretty open competition going for the second and third base slots, with some combination of Tyler Wade, the newly-acquired Brandon Drury, Miguel AndujarRonald Torreyes and top prospect Gleyber Torres all figuring in the mix. While the Yankees envision Torres to be the long-term solution at the keystone, Walker is more of a known quantity for a team that is on a win-now footing. Walker has also played a little third base and first base in his career, so he’ll give manager Aaron Boone a lot of options on his infield.

Joe Kelly’s suspension reduced to 5 games on appeal

Joe Kelly suspended eight
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LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly had his suspension for throwing pitches near the heads of Houston hitters reduced to five games on appeal.

Kelly was originally penalized eight games by Major League Baseball on July 29, a day after throwing a 96 mph fastball near the head of Houston’s Alex Bregman and two curveballs that brushed back Carlos Correa.

The Dodgers on Wednesday confirmed the reduced penalty.

Kelly went on the 10-day injured list retroactive to last Sunday with right shoulder inflammation. He will serve his suspension when he returns.

After striking out Corea, Kelly curled his lip into a pouting expression and exchanged words with the shortstop.

Benches cleared after Kelly’s actions during the sixth inning of Los Angeles’ 5-2 win at Houston in the teams’ first meeting since it was revealed the Astros stole signs en route to a 2017 World Series title over the Dodgers.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts served his one-game suspension the same day the penalty was handed down. Astros manager Dusty Baker was fined an undisclosed amount.

Kelly denied that he purposely threw at the Astros. He has previously been suspended in his career for throwing at a batter.

The penalties were imposed by former pitcher Chris Young, MLB’s senior vice president of baseball operations, who issued his first ruling since taking over the job from Joe Torre.