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Nationals bring back Cabrera, add infield depth

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SAN FRANCISCO — Switch-hitting infielder Asdrubal Cabrera reached agreement on a one-year contract Tuesday for a second stint with the Washington Nationals, and manager Dave Martinez told him to be ready for multiple roles.

The 33-year-old Cabrera was released Saturday by the Texas Rangers as they turned to youth. He batted .235 with 12 home runs, 15 doubles and 51 RBIs in 93 games, drawing 38 walks.

“I was caught by surprise. I didn’t expect it,” Cabrera said.

Cabrera, who played all of his games at third base this season, joined his new team before the middle game of a series with San Francisco. He appeared in 49 games for Washington in 2014 after being acquired from Cleveland at the trade deadline.

“I’m very thankful to the Nationals. They gave me an opportunity to return to the team,” Cabrera said. “It’s a new challenge for me, I know this organization. … I’m going to come off the bench. I’ll hit for the pitcher, I’ll play different positions. I’ll be playing around the whole infield.”

That means taking ground balls at first, where he might just get some use.

Martinez appreciates having Cabrera’s power bat available off the bench.

“He hits the ball all over. It was a great addition for us,” Martinez said. “I told him, ‘Just be ready, you could play everywhere, come in, double-switch and help us in many ways.'”

The Nationals optioned infielder Adrian Sanchez to Double-A Harrisburg and designated right-hander Kyle Barraclough for assignment.

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Ex-Reds infielder Jose Peraza agrees to join Red Sox

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The Red Sox have agreed to a one-year deal with free-agent infielder Jose Peraza, according to a report Thursday by Robert Murray.

Peraza likely will fill a utility spot for a Boston team that isn’t expected to bring back free agent Brock Holt.

The 25-year-old Peraza spent the past four seasons with the Reds. Known for his good eye at the plate, he hit .288 with 85 runs scored, 14 home runs and 23 steals in 2018, but those numbers dipped some this past season, when he posted a .239-37-6-7 line.

He was nontendered by the Reds earlier this month.

Peraza will bring versatility to the Red Sox’s defense. Since breaking into the big leagues in 2015, he’s played at least five games at every non-pitching position but first base, right field and catcher.

MLB Network reported that the deal is close to $3 million plus incentives.

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Nomar Mazara, Tanner Roark get fresh starts

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Catching up on a few leftover moves from this week’s winter meetings as I fly home …

• The Rangers finally tired of waiting for Nomar Mazara, to whom they gave $5 million when they signed him as a 16-year-old in 2011, to convert his promise into production, trading him to the Chicago White Sox for fringe prospect Steele Walker. Mazara has a .261/.320/.435 line across four full years in the majors, making him well below average for a corner outfielder in both OBP and power, with an execrable .231/.272/.361 career line against lefties. He doesn’t swing and miss often, but he also swings at too many pitches outside or around the perimeter of the strike zone, pitches he can foul off or put in play but can’t hit hard — and he really doesn’t make enough hard contact for a corner outfielder who’s a below-average defender. I thought Mazara would be a better hitter than this, but after four years there’s been zero improvement in his approach at the plate; perhaps the change of scenery and coaching staffs will help.

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Corey Knebel, Brewers agree to same $5.1M salary

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SAN DIEGO — The Milwaukee Brewers agreed to a one-year contract for $5,125,000 with pitcher Corey Knebel, who is returning from Tommy John surgery.

A 28-year-old right-hander, Knebel hurt his elbow during spring training and had surgery April 3. He had been eligible for salary arbitration and will have the same salary as in 2019.

His deal includes a $50,000 bonus for comeback player of the year along with other award bonuses.

Knebel had 39 saves in 2017, when he was an All-Star, and 16 the following season.

His deal was announced Tuesday.

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