Previewing Sunday Night Baseball: Dodgers at Angels

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With the Dodgers and Angels less than two hours away from first pitch, here’s a few things to consider:

On the bump:

– John Lackey (2-2, 6.10) takes the hill for the Angels. Lackey enjoyed
his best start of the season in his last outing against the Giants,
fanning a season-high 10 while allowing three runs over seven innings.
He’s been shaky since missing the first six weeks of the season due to
inflammation in his pitching elbow, allowing 52 hits in 38 1/3 innings
(.335 BAA). Lefties are batting .422 against him thus far.

– Clayton Kershaw (3-5, 4.13) pitches for the Dodgers. Kershaw
blanked the Athletics over 5 2/3 innings in his last start, but
suffered a no-decision. He is winless in his last three starts, dating
back to May 27. The 21-year-old southpaw has a 70/42 K/BB ratio in 69
2/3 innings pitched this season.

Martin ends drought:

– Russell Martin connected for his first home run of the season in
the 6-4 win on Saturday night. The third-inning blast ended a 217
at-bat drought.

Figgins red-hot in June:

– Chone Figgins leads the majors with a .403 batting average since May 15.

Manny Who:

– The Dodgers are an NL-best 24-16 since Manny Ramirez was suspended.

Fantasy angle:

– Juan Rivera is batting .431/.508/.902 with six homers and nine RBI against left-handers this season

– Jonathan Broxton returned to the mound on Saturday after missing
three games with a sore toe. He allowed his first home run of the
season to Gary Matthews Jr., but still managed to notch his 16th save.

J.D. Martinez tells teams he prefers an outfield role

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Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.

That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.

Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.