Ian Kinsler to play for Team Israel in the Olympics

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Right now it’s unclear whether the Tokyo Olympics will go off on schedule — here’s the latest on that, by the way — but if they are played, this summer or at some later date, a famous, recently-retired big leaguer will be suiting up for Team Israel: Ian Kinsler.

That’s the report from The Jerusalem Post, which called Kinsler “the greatest Jewish second baseman of all time.” I think that’s a pretty dang fair claim. A lot of people believe that Rod Carew is Jewish thanks to the shoutout to him Adam Sandler’s ‘Chanukah Song” but, despite the fact that he married a Jewish woman and raised his children Jewish he did not actually convert. Besides, he played 54 more games as a first baseman than as a second baseman, so I give the nod to Kinsler anyway.

Anyway, the news was subsequently confirmed by this video from Israel Baseball:

Israel is one of six teams that will play in baseball’s return to Olympic competition following a multi-Olympic hiatus.

Kinsler announced his retirement from baseball in December following a 14-year career in which he made four All-Star teams, won two Gold Gloves, and put together a career line of .269/.337/.440 with 257 home runs and 243 stolen bases for the Rangers, Tigers, Angels, Red Sox and Padres.

Dodgers sign OF Jason Heyward to minor league deal

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LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Dodgers signed outfielder Jason Heyward to a minor league deal and invited him to spring training.

The 33-year-old was released by the Chicago Cubs earlier this offseason.

Heyward, who was injured at times last season, put up the worst offensive numbers of his career, batting .204 and with 10 RBIs and one home run in 137 plate appearances. However, he’s a valuable defender in the outfield.

The deal reunites Heyward with first baseman Freddie Freeman. They came up through the Atlanta Braves system and have remained friends ever since.

Heyward was a leader in the Cubs’ clubhouse, helping them win the 2016 World Series.