Mike Fiers
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Report: Athletics close to re-signing Mike Fiers

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Free agent right-hander Mike Fiers is nearing a deal with the Athletics, Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported Saturday. While it doesn’t appear the deal has been formally announced yet, Morosi hears it’s a two-year contract “between $14 million and $15 million.”

Fiers, 33, first arrived in Oakland last August during a multi-player trade from the Tigers. The veteran righty finished out his eighth major-league campaign with a cumulative 12-8 record in 31 starts and a 3.56 ERA, 1.9 BB/9, 7.3 SO/9 and 1.4 fWAR through 172 innings for the two clubs, then was non-tendered by the Athletics in November. Those results present a marked improvement over his two-year tenure with the Astros in 2016-2017, however, and something the A’s will be able to sink their teeth into as they look for more stable contributors to bring them back to the cusp of another division title in 2019.

Right now, the Athletics are poised to enter the 2019 season with some combination of right-handers Daniel Mengden, Aaron Brooks, Paul Blackburn, Chris Bassitt and Frankie Montas (and, possibly, left-handed prospect Jesus Luzardo) in their rotation. They placed 20th among all major-league rotations in 2018 with a collective 4.17 ERA and 7.8 fWAR, worse than every division rival save the no. 27 Rangers.

Rays place Austin Meadows on 10-day injured list with thumb sprain

Austin Meadows
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Rays outfielder Austin Meadows has been placed on the 10-day injured list with a right thumb sprain, per a team announcement Sunday. No concrete timetable has been given for his return to the lineup just yet, but he’s scheduled to meet with a hand specialist on Sunday as the Rays try to determine the extent of his injury.

Meadows, 23, suffered the sprain in the seventh inning of Saturday’s 6-5 loss to the Red Sox. He lined a two-run triple into the right-center field gap — one of a franchise-record four triples that the Rays recorded in the game — but slid awkwardly into third base and jammed his right thumb in the process. He didn’t appear to be in obvious pain following the hit, however, nor was he removed from the game at the time.

Prior to the setback, Meadows carried a hefty .351/.422/.676 batting line with six homers, 19 RBI, and a 1.097 OPS through his first 83 plate appearances of 2019. He was replaced by Guillermo Heredia in right field for Sunday’s series finale and will likely lose a few starts to Avisaíl García as well.

In a series of corresponding moves, right-handed reliever Jake Faria was optioned to Triple-A Durham, infielder/outfielder Andrew Velazquez and righty reliever Emilio Pagán were recalled from Triple-A, and reliever Hunter Wood was placed on the paternity list. Second baseman Joey Wendle was also reinstated from the 10-day injured list after rehabbing a left hamstring strain and is scheduled take over the keystone during the Rays’ matinee against the Red Sox on Sunday.