Royals unsure when Callaspo will return to lineup

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Alberto Callaspo was scratched from Friday’s lineup against the Dodgers after he tweaked his right side on a swing during batting practice. He was out of the lineup again on Saturday and manager Trey Hillman told Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star that he isn’t sure when Callaspo will be able to return to game action.

“We’re going to get a better read (Sunday),” Hillman said. “It’s usually 24-48 (hours before you know). He came in feeling a lot better, and it wasn’t that bad (on Friday). We still think it’s going to be OK.”

The fear, according to Dutton, is that Callaspo suffered a strained oblique muscle, the type of injury that could sideline him for several weeks. Callaspo, who turned 27 in April, emerged as one of the most productive bats for the Royals last season, batting .300/.356/.457 with 11 homers and 73 RBI.

Josh Fields, who was acquired from the White Sox in the Mark Teahen in November, would likely open the season as the primary third baseman if Callaspo needs a stint on the disabled list. Alex Gordon, who broke his thumb earlier this month, is already expected to open the season on the DL.

Marlins sign Sean Burnett to minor league deal

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Free agent reliever Sean Burnett signed a minor-league pact with the Marlins on Saturday. Per’s Joe Frisaro, the left-hander is slated to begin the season in extended spring training and will work toward a role in the majors.

Burnett, 35, has not appeared in full-time role in MLB since 2012. He last pitched for a big league team in 2016, surfacing for 5 2/3 innings with the Nationals before returning to the minors. Despite signing a minor-league deal with the Phillies last spring, he failed to make the Opening Day roster and was released prior to the start of the season.

Complicating Burnett’s return is a slew of chronic elbow issues. The left-hander has dealt with everything from bone spurs to a torn UCL over the last six years, and will need to take things slowly in the minors before the Marlins consider adding him to the bullpen this season.