Ramon Laureano executes 321-foot throw to complete double play

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Athletics outfielder Ramon Laureano may only have five major league games under his belt, but it’s hard to imagine how he’ll be able to improve on the chart-topping double play throw he delivered during Saturday’s 7-0 shutout against the Angels.

In the third inning, with two outs and Eric Young Jr. on first base, Justin Upton sent a line drive into center field. Laureano snared the ball and fired a perfect throw to first baseman Mark Canha, who doubled Young off the base and brought the inning to a close.

The brilliance of the play is in the details: According to Statcast, it took Laureano just 4.4 seconds to cover 76 feet and make the initial catch. He returned the ball with a 91.2-MPH, 321-foot laser to Canha; both the pinpoint accuracy of his throw and Young’s 90-foot sprint from second base back to first culminated in the highlight reel-worthy play.

Following the game, Laureano revealed that he hadn’t even considered hitting the cutoff man on the throw — not if he was going to have a chance of beating Young back to the bag.

“It was a crazy play, a crazy moment,” he told reporters. “I was shocked. It’s kind of like I just caught it and I’m like, ‘Damn, I’m the only one that has a shot I guess,’ so I just threw it.”

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.