Guardians add pop, sign slugger Josh Bell to 2-year contract

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CLEVELAND – The Guardians added some major pop to their pesky lineup.

Cleveland officially signed slugger Josh Bell to a two-year, $33 million contract on Monday after agreeing to the deal last week during the winter meetings in San Diego.

The AL Central champions were in the market for a big bat after hitting just 127 homers (second fewest in the league) last season and believe they’ve added one with the switch-hitting Bell.

The 30-year-old hit 37 homers in 2019 for Pittsburgh and has 130 over seven season in the majors.

He’ll likely platoon at first base with Josh Naylor and be used as a designated hitter. This will be Bell’s first time in the AL after playing with the Pirates, San Diego and Washington.

Embracing a patience-over-power approach at the plate, the Guardians were one of baseball’s biggest surprises last season. They pulled away in September to finish 92-70 and win their division by 11 games.

Cleveland beat Tampa Bay in the wild-card round before losing to the New York Yankees in the Division Series, when the Guardians were outhomered 9-3.

Bell split last season between the Nationals and Padres, posting career-highs in hits (147) and walks (81). For the season, he batted .266 17 homers and 71 RBIs in 156 games.

Orioles option LHP Bruce Zimmermann to minors

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SARASOTA, Fla. – The Baltimore Orioles have optioned left-handers Bruce Zimmermann and Nick Vespi and reassigned infielder Lewin Díaz, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez and catcher Mark Kolozsvary to minor league camp.

The Orioles announced the moves Monday.

Baltimore’s spring training roster now has 46 players.

Zimmermann made 13 starts last season. He went 2-5 with a 5.99 ERA.

The competition for rotation spots with the Orioles has been a significant story during spring training, but after the team acquired Cole Irvin and Kyle Gibson in the offseason – and with top prospect Grayson Rodriguez in the mix as well – there were a lot of pitchers Zimmermann needed to beat out.