Lance Berkman has a bruised knee

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Bad news for Houston, as Lance Berkman was held out of today’s workout because of what the team is calling a “bruised” knee.  He didn’t bang it, but there is swelling and discomfort, which Berkman thinks he might have done while running the bases.

The team isn’t concerned, but Baseball Prospectus’ Will Carroll — not a doctor, but very knowledgeable about sports injuries all the same — says that a “bruise” absent any trauma suggests an arthritic problem.

It’s obviously way too early to tell if this is truly serious or if he’ll miss any real time. But injuries to Berkman may be less important to the Astros from a can-he-play perspective this season than they are from a can-we-trade-him perspective, what with him in a walk a year and the Astros showing no real intention to sign him to an extension, and the prospect of some chronic knee problem could hurt his trade value, even if he manages to suit up for Houston.

Report: Nationals sign reliever Brandon Kintzler to a two-year deal

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Both a Kinsler and a Kintzler made headlines at the Winter Meetings. After the Angels acquired second baseman Ian Kinsler from the Tigers, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Nationals have inked reliever Brandon Kintzler to a two-year contract, pending a physical. Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that the deal is worth $10 million and includes a third-year option worth $6 million.

Kintzler, 33, spent the latter half of his 2017 campaign with the Nationals after the Twins traded him. Between both clubs, he put up an aggregate 3.03 ERA with 29 saves and a 39/16 K/BB ratio in 71 1/3 innings.

Sean Doolittle will handle save situations for the Nationals. Kintzler and Ryan Madson will bridge the gap to him in the seventh and eighth innings.