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Twins sign Nelson Cruz to one-year, $14.3 million contract

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Jeff Passan of Yahoo reports that Twins and Nelson Cruz are in agreement on a one-year deal with an option. The contract will pay Cruz $14.3 million in 2019 and $12 million if the club picks up his option in 2020.

Cruz, who will turn 39 next season, hit .256/.342/.509 with 37 homers last season. Those rate stats were down a bit, but peripheral stats and Statcast metrics suggest he hasn’t lost a step but, rather, just hit into some bad luck in 2018. Obviously at his age you have to assume a decline will soon occur, but for now it seems like he remains a serious power threat. Either way, Cruz has averaged 40.6 homers a year over the past five years. There hasn’t been a more consistent power hitter around, really.

If that consistency falters in 2019, hey, it’s a one-year deal with a cheap $300,000 buyout for 2020. On that score he’ll be a nice addition to a Twins lineup even if he takes a step back.

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

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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.