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Nationals sign Asdrúbal Cabrera

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The Nationals have agreed to a one-year, $2.5 million deal with infieldeer Asdrubal Cabrera.

The Nats acquired Cabrera after he was released by the Texas Rangers last season and he had a great final two months of the season, hitting .323/.404/.565 in 146 plate appearances in 38 games. He was used as a utilityman, playing second, third and first base.

By bringing him back, the Nationals add to an already interesting infield mix, given that they just signed Starlin Castro yesterday, still have Howie Kendrick in the fold and top prospect Carter Kieboom is expected to at least get a chance to compete for a roster spot in spring training. Meanwhile, the Nationals are still reportedly tying hard to sign third baseman Josh Donaldson and would appear to be the only team free agent Ryan Zimmerman is considering playing for in 2020.

If the Nats don’t want to bring back Zimmerman — and if they lose out on Donaldson — the current setup would likely be Castro at second, Kendrick at first, and Cabrera or some lesser free agent third baseman like Todd Frazier or someone at third. Certainly in an ideal world they would allow Cabrera to be a utility-man.

Like I said: an interesting mix.

Ramon Laureano’s suspension reduced from 6 games to 4

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OAKLAND, Calif. — Oakland Athletics center fielder Ramon Laureano had a six-game suspension reduced to four games Friday after appealing the penalty for his role in a benches-clearing brawl with the rival Houston Astros.

Major League Baseball said a settlement had been reached and the A’s were informed of the decision. Laureano was set to begin the four-game suspension Friday night and will miss a three-game weekend Bay Bridge Series against the San Francisco Giants. After sitting out Monday at Arizona, he will be eligible to play Tuesday against the Diamondbacks.

Astros hitting coach Alex Cintron received a 20-game suspension and a fine Tuesday for his role in the fracas at Oakland last Sunday. Laureano also received a fine.

Cintron’s suspension is the longest for an on-field transgression in 15 years, since Texas pitcher Kenny Rogers received 20 games for his altercation with two cameramen in 2005.

Laureano was hit by a pitch from Humberto Castellanos with one out in the seventh inning of Oakland’s 7-2 victory – the third time he got hit in the series and the fifth time overall for an A’s batter. Houston players weren’t plunked at all. He pointed at Castellanos and began exchanging words with a gesturing Cintron then left first base, threw down his batting helmet and began sprinting toward the 41-year-old Cintron.

Astros catcher Dustin Garneau tackled Laureano before the A’s outfielder got to the hitting coach. Laureano is a former Astros player and the rival clubs have been the top two teams in the AL West the past two years. A’s pitcher Mike Fiers, another former Houston player, revealed the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal in November to The Athletic.