Zach Duke
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Report: Reds to sign Zach Duke

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The Reds are closing in on a deal with lefty reliever Zach Duke, per Jon Heyman of Fancred. Rumors of the deal first sprouted on Thursday evening, but as of Friday, the team has yet to reveal any contract terms or make a formal announcement.

Duke, 35, split his 2018 campaign between the Twins and Mariners following a midseason trade to Seattle for right-hander Chase De Jong and corner infielder Ryan Costello. He pitched to a combined 4.15 ERA, 3.6 BB/9, and 8.8 SO/9 through 52 innings of relief. While his results weren’t anything to write home about, they represented an important step forward for the veteran left-hander in his first full season since undergoing Tommy John surgery during the 2016 offseason and UCL and forearm surgery in the middle of the Cardinals’ 2017 run.

In Cincinnati, Duke will provide additional depth in a bullpen that already includes right-handers Michael Lorenzen, Jared Hughes, and David Hernandez, lefties Wandy Peralta, Amir Garrett, Cody Reed, and Brandon Finnegan, and closer Raisel Iglesias. The Reds may still seek further reinforcements as the 2019 season draws nearer, but already missed out on one of their targets when free agent reliever Shawn Kelley inked a deal with the Rangers earlier this week.

Giants sign Darin Ruf to minor league contract

Darin Ruf
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The Athletic’s Jayson Stark reports that the Giants have signed 1B/OF Darin Ruf to a minor league contract.

Ruf, 33, played parts of five seasons in the majors with the Phillies from 2012-16, enjoying occasional offensive success. He spent the last three seasons in the KBO League in South Korea with the Samsung Lions, reigniting his career. Ruf hit an aggregate .313/.404/.564 with 86 home runs and 350 RBI over 1,756 plate appearances.

Ruf joins an ever-increasing list of players whose major league careers fizzled out, then found new life overseas — Eric Thames and Miles Mikolas are a couple of examples. Ruf will hope to prove himself as a big leaguer once more in spring training with the Giants.