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.
 

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.