Former Phillies pitchers David Buchanan, Phil Klein sign in Japan

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The Associated Press

Former Phillies pitchers David Buchanan, Phil Klein sign in Japan

A pair of former Phillies pitchers will spend 2017 in Japan.

David Buchanan signed a one-year, $750,000 contract with the Yakult Swallows of NPB, Japan's best league. 

Fellow right-hander Phil Klein, who made two starts for the Phillies last season, signed with the Yokohama BayStars. He'll reportedly make about $1.25 million with a chance for incentives.

The move makes sense for Buchanan, who has been decent at Triple A but struggled badly the last time he was in the majors. A pitcher reliant on pinpoint command, Buchanan went 6-8 with a 3.75 ERA in 20 starts as a rookie in 2014, walking just 2.4 batters per nine innings.

But after a strong showing in spring training in 2015, Buchanan had a dismal April, going 0-5 with an 8.76 ERA. He finished the year 2-9 with a 6.99 ERA and 1.85 WHIP in 15 starts.

"He can keep his pitches low with a high strike rate, and has strong fighting spirit. We wanted that kind of a pitcher," Yakult international director Masayuki Okumura said in a statement (via Kyodo News).

The Phillies released the 27-year-old on Nov. 23.

Klein is also 27 and will carry strong Triple A numbers over to Japan. In parts of three seasons at the minors' highest level, Klein has a 2.14 ERA with 174 strikeouts in 160 innings. The Phillies claimed him off waivers from the Rangers in June. He made four appearances in the majors with them, then was released on Dec. 14.

Phils sign Holaday
The Phillies signed catcher Bryan Holaday to a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training. It's a depth signing that could potentially give them the flexibility to start both Jorge Alfaro and Andrew Knapp in the minors again this season if they're deemed unready.

Phillies GM Matt Klentak did recently say, however, that the Phillies don't necessarily need a veteran backup catcher, which could mean Knapp gets the backup role if he hits enough in spring training.

Holaday, 29, has hit .245/.282/.346 in parts of five seasons with the Tigers, Rangers and Red Sox. He's thrown runners out at a league-average rate (28 percent), and has allowed just one passed ball in 453 defensive innings the last two years.

Howie Kendrick hit by pitch twice, removed from rehab start at Triple A

Howie Kendrick hit by pitch twice, removed from rehab start at Triple A

Howie Kendrick experienced a painful rehab start on Thursday night.

Rehabbing with Triple A Lehigh Valley, Kendrick was hit by a pitch twice before being removed after the sixth inning of the IronPigs' 8-4 loss to Indianapolis at Coca-Cola Park.

Both times Kendrick was plunked in the upper left arm, according to Tom Housenick of the Morning Call.

There was no update on if Kendrick was injured or taken out for precautionary reasons. Thursday marked Kendrick's second rehab start as he recovers from an oblique strain that has sidelined him since April 15.

The Phillies' leftfielder started at third base Thursday. At the beginning of his rehab assignment, Kendrick was expected to play four games and see time at third and first base, as well as in left field.

Kendrick made a throwing error at third on Thursday and finished 0 for 1 with a run scored. In his two games, he's 0 for 3 with two strikeouts.

Kendrick hit .333 with four doubles, a triple and five RBIs in 10 games with the Phillies prior to landing on the DL.

When he returns, he could see time at third base instead of left field if Maikel Franco continues to struggle (see story).

Best of MLB: Solo homers power Cubs to win over Giants

Best of MLB: Solo homers power Cubs to win over Giants

CHICAGO -- Kris Bryant, Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist hit solo homers, spot starter Eddie Butler pitched five effective innings and the Chicago Cubs beat the San Francisco Giants 5-1 on Thursday for their third straight win.

Mike Montgomery followed with four scoreless innings and allowed one hit in his first save.

Heyward went deep for the second time in three games and Zobrist added two singles as the Cubs took three of four games in a set with the Giants and finished a homestand at 7-2 (see full recap).

Cruz blast helps Mariners top Nationals
WASHINGTON -- Nelson Cruz greeted reliever Jacob Turner with a go-ahead, three-run homer in the sixth inning, and the Seattle Mariners beat the Washington Nationals 4-2 Thursday to stop a five-game losing streak.

Gio Gonzalez took a 2-0 lead into the sixth, when Jean Segura singled leading off and Guillermo Heredia took a called third strike. That prompted Seattle manager Scott Servais to complain from the dugout, which led to his ejection by plate umpire Adam Hamari.

Robinson Cano singled, and Washington manager Dusty Baker brought in Turner (2-3), despite Cruz having just one hit in 15 at-bats against Gonzalez. Cruz drove a belt-high slider over the fence in left-center for his 12th homer this season and a 3-2 lead. Cruz leads the AL with 40 RBIs.

Cano added an RBI single off Turner in the seventh. Seattle scored multiple runs for the first time since May 18 (see full recap).

Andriese, Rasmus help Rays blank Angels
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Matt Andriese allowed six hits over eight innings, Colby Rasmus drove in four runs and the Tampa Bay Rays salvaged a split of a four-game series with Los Angeles by beating the Angels 4-0 on Thursday.

Andriese (5-1) improved to 4-0 over his last five starts, holding the Angels to 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position. Los Angeles threatened in five innings against the right-hander.

Rasmus had a pair of key two-out hits with the bases loaded: a two-run single in the first and a fifth-inning double that made it 4-0.

Tommy Hunter got three outs to complete a six-hitter (see full recap).