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Mitch Harris (elbow) expects to be throwing without restrictions by the end of January.

Harris underwent a new kind of Tommy John-like surgery last June that is supposed to come with a shorter rehab time -- not the 12-15 months that is usually required. "I want to come into spring training 100 percent and healthy," the reliever told MLB.com on Sunday. "Hopefully, I make a decision extremely difficult for somebody, or really easy." Harris, a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, posted a decent 3.67 ERA over his first 27 major league innings in 2015 before missing the entire 2016 season. He's doubtful to win a bullpen spot out of camp, even if he's fully healthy.
Jan 16 - 10:25 AM

Cubs vice president Jason McLeod told fans in Chicago on Sunday that Jorge Soler was benched "a couple of times" last season due to a lack of hustle.

The comments came during a Q&A at the final session of the Cubs' annual winter fan convention. "This is not trying to harp on 'Georgie' at all, but he got yanked a couple of times last year for not hustling out to the outfield, for not running down the line," said McLeod. "I don't know if Joe [has conversations with players like that] so much, but Joe makes the decision. And Joe's style is not gonna go up and blow somebody up, especially in the dugout, on TV. But yeah, those conversations do take place." Soler will try to shake off that reputation in Kansas City, where he was traded in early December for closer Wade Davis. There's still a whole lot of offensive upside in the 24-year-old from Cuba. Maybe the fresh start can yield positives for everybody involved.
Jan 16 - 10:02 AM

FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports that the Blue Jays and Jose Bautista are discussing a two-year contract in the $35-40 million range.

And it sounds like an official agreement may be imminent. Bautista struggled to attract a healthy market for himself this winter after an injury-riddled 2016 that saw him post his worst OPS (.817) since 2009. In bringing Bautista back the Jays will lose the opportunity to gain a compensatory draft pick, but it's a relatively low-cost, low-risk deal at two years, $35-40 million for a guy who ranked among the most dangerous sluggers in the game just a season ago. If the 36-year-old Bautista can stay healthy for most of 2017 and 2018, this could really work out well for Toronto. Look for more details soon.
Jan 16 - 9:41 AM

Bob Nightengale of USA Today confirms the Padres have signed Trevor Cahill to a one-year, $1.75 million contract.

Nightengale notes that the Pirates, Blue Jays, Reds, and Rangers also made offers to Cahill, but the 28-year-old right-hander wants another shot at starting and San Diego offers the best possible path to a major league rotation spot. Cahill posted a 2.74 ERA, 1.279 WHIP, and 66/35 K/BB ratio in 65 2/3 innings (one start, 49 relief appearances) last season for the Cubs. He'll have to sort out his recent control problems to flourish with the Friars.
Jan 16 - 9:30 AM

Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reports that the Blue Jays are nearing a deal with Jose Bautista.

The Indians and Orioles have been mentioned as possibilities in recent days, but Sanchez writes that the Blue Jays have emerged as the front-runners. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports confirms the report while adding that it "seems likely to happen." No word on the exact terms being discussed, but Bautista's market hasn't been nearly as strong as originally hoped. The Blue Jays have a clear need for another outfielder, so it makes sense to retain him if the price is right, even though they won't get the draft pick they would have received if he signed elsewhere. Bautista, 36, has slugged 265 homers in 1,078 games with Toronto. Only Carlos Delgado (336) has hit more in franchise history.
Jan 16 - 12:04 AM
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