Former Toronto Blue Jays infielder Munenori Kawasaki has re-signed with the Chicago Cubs after being released by the team earlier on Tuesday, according to reports.
Kawasaki, who signed a minor-league deal with the Cubs in January, was placed on release waivers by the Cubs Tuesday morning. Teams are required to pay players signed to minor-league deals a $100,000 retention bonus if they are not placed on the major-league roster or released five days before the start of the season.
The Toronto Blue Jays fan favourite had a productive spring with the Cubs, hitting .395/.489/.553 with six doubles, five RBI, one stolen base, seven walks and four strikeouts in 46 plate appearances. Kawasaki, who was competing for a backup infielder spot, earned the praise of manager Joe Maddon for his play and personality this spring.
“He’s done a really nice job,” Maddon told ESPN. “When he was in Toronto, everyone looks at him as being this fun guy that does crazy things. This guy is a good baseball player. He plays the game well and is a great teammate. He is a lot of fun. The other stuff that he does is really pertinent. He’s a very much viable option.”
Kawasaki, 34, appeared in 23 games with the Blue Jays in 2015, hitting .214 with six hits and two RBI while providing good defence off the bench.