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Big League Stew

Spring Headlines: Chien-Ming Wang returns to Yankees, Casey Kelly to have Tommy John surgery

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(USA Today)

Coming off his impressive performance in the World Baseball Classic, the New York Yankees have agreed to terms with Chien-Ming Wang on a minor league contract.

Of course Wang began his major league career in the Bronx back in 2005. He would go on to post an excellent 55-26 mark with a 4.16 ERA over 109 appearances (104 starts) before joining the Washington Nationals as a free agent following the 2009 season. That stint was marred by injuries and ineffectiveness, which left him without a job heading into the spring.

News of his return to New York comes courtesy of CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, who also offered the following speculation on what moves could follow if Wang carries his strong WBC work over into Yankees camp and the regular season.

Honestly, I'm not sure that makes much sense for New York, especially with Hughes already expected to begin the season on the disabled list. Wang could be needed to fill that void right off the bat, and by the time Hughes gets healthy and proves himself to be effective, the returns of Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson would seemingly be right around the corner. But perhaps Heyman is looking more than just a few weeks down the road.

[Also: Orioles win scheduling conflict battle with NFL]

Casey Kelly scheduled for Tommy John surgery: The San Diego Padres confirmed on Friday what has been anticipated for the past two weeks. Casey Kelly, a top pitching prospect who was acquired from the Boston Red Sox in the Adrian Gonzalez trade back on in December of 2010, will undergo Tommy John surgery after extensive testing on his elbow revealed the 23-year-old had "micro tears" in his ulnar collateral ligament.

Kelly consulted his family before making his final decision this week. He'd also dealt with elbow issues last season, missing three months with a strain. He returned healthy and effective enough to make his major league debut in August, shutting out the Atlanta Braves over six innings in a victory. He finished the short stint 2-3 with a 6.21 ERA in six starts and is now staring at a 12-to-18 recovery period before he can work his way back into the mix.

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(AP)

Jon Garland exercises opt-out clause: Informed Friday that the Seattle Mariners weren't prepared to guarantee him a spot in their starting rotation, veteran right-hander Jon Garland elected to exercise his opt-out clause so that he can pursue a similar opportunity elsewhere. John Schlegel of MLB.com has more.

"We sat down and we talked, and we weren't at this moment in time prepared to commit one of the starting spots in the rotation to Jon," Zduriencik said. "There's still some games left to be played, and we just couldn't put ourselves in that position at this time. There's still a battle going on for a few spots in the rotation."

[Also: Aroldis Chapman remains Cincinnati closer]

Zduriencik said the protocol with the opt-out clause means it won't officially be exercised until Saturday, so that would leave the ball in Garland's court as to whether he wants to stay and see what happens with the Mariners or find a job elsewhere.

One would think Garland will garner interest as a veteran presence with some gas left in the tank. A team like Colorado stands out, though the Denver Post's Troy Renck suggests they're lukewarm to the idea. Meanwhile, Seattle will continue to evaluate a short list of candidates to follow Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma and Joe Saunders. Blake Beavan is viewed as a heavy favorite for one spot.

NL West's injury woes continues: Let's see, the San Diego Padres lost Chase Headley for four-to-six weeks with a fractured thumb. Then the Dodgers lost Hanley Ramirez for two months with a torn ligament in his right thumb — he had successful surgery on Friday. Pablo Sandoval's right elbow is all banged up so he's resting for the Giants. Now we can add the Arizona Diamondbacks to the mix after it was announced on Friday that centerfielder Adam Eaton will miss six-to-eight weeks with a UCL sprain in his left (throwing elbow).

[Baseball 2013 from Yahoo! Fantasy Sports: Join a league today!]

It's actually quite a blow to the D-Backs as they were counting on the 24-year-old to play everyday and hit lead-off. That's especially true with Cody Ross also questionable for opening day with a calf injury. They'll now look to Gerardo Parra initially to fill in for Eaton. Tony Campana and A.J. Pollack are also options. But the bottom line is after trading Justin Upton and Chris Young during the offseason and now losing Eaton for an extended period of time, their once loaded outfield is down to the bare bones.

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