* Erika Gilbert of MLB.com reports
that Roy Halladay is on track to return from his groin injury to start
Monday against the Rays. Halladay threw a bullpen session yesterday,
with manager Cito Gaston saying afterward that “he felt good.”
Halladay hasn’t pitched since June 12, yet still leads the league in
wins and ranks fourth in innings. He’s eligible to come off the
disabled list Sunday, but Gaston noted that the Blue Jays want to “give
him another day’s rest.”
* Tim Lincecum had some Giants fans concerned when he began the season with back-to-back poor outings, but after last night’s complete-game victory
against the A’s the NL’s reigning Cy Young winner is now 7-1 with a
2.14 ERA and 114/22 K/BB ratio in 96.2 innings spread over his last 13
starts. He leads the league in innings and strikeouts while ranking
fourth in ERA.
* Barack Obama has signed on to throw out the ceremonial first pitch
at the All-Star game in St. Louis next week, following in the footsteps
of John F. Kennedy., Richard Nixon, and Gerald Ford. And then he’ll be
rooting for an American League win.
The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.
Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.
As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.