Marc Rzepczynski
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Diamondbacks sign Marc Rzepczynski, Ricky Nolasco to minor league deals

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The Diamondbacks have inked two free agent relievers to minor league pacts, the team announced Friday. Both left-hander Marc Rzepczynski and right-hander Ricky Nolasco will receive spring training invites.

Rzepczynski, 33, has not pitched anything close to a full season since 2016. He labored through a handful of games with the Mariners and Indians in 2018 and closed out the year with a disappointing 11 runs, 10 walks, and 11 strikeouts through 10 1/3 innings pitched. His short-lived stints in Triple-A ball yielded mixed results, too, and he didn’t appear to attract wide interest from depth-starved clubs after holding a pitching showcase last month. While he may not be the lights-out lefty specialist of seasons past, however, he could still prove useful to the D-backs if he can inch toward the sub-3.00 ERA and 0.5-fWAR threshold he once cleared with ease.

Nolasco, like Rzepczynski, has a few hurdles left to clear in order to earn a spot on the D-backs Opening Day roster. The 36-year-old righty didn’t make it out of the Royals’ camp last spring, and spent the entire season on the major and minor league sidelines after posting a 4.92 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 7.1 SO/9, and 0.8 fWAR with the Angels in 2017. There’s no certainty that he’ll make it any further this time around, but it would be surprising if he turned in worse results than the 19.64 ERA, 7.3 BB/9, and 4.9 SO/9 he managed last March.

Zack Wheeler hits first career homer

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Mets starter Zack Wheeler wasn’t content with just dominating the Phillies on the mound Tuesday night in Queens. The 28-year-old decided to have himself a three-RBI night at the plate, too, including his first career home run.

With the Mets already leading 3-0 with two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning, Wheeler lifted a first-pitch Zach Eflin fastball out to left-center field, landing well beyond the 370-foot sign on the wall. Wheeler had previously helped his own cause, lacing a two-run double down the right field line off of Eflin in the second inning.

Wheeler entered the night with 22 hits in 194 career trips to the plate. Of his 22 hits, five went for extra bases (all doubles). On the mound, through six innings, Wheeler has held the Phillies scoreless on five hits with no walks and 11 strikeouts.

Todd Frazier broke the game open in the fifth inning, hitting a grand slam off of Drew Anderson to push the Mets’ lead to 8-0. If the Phillies lose tonight, they will have lost five of their last six games.