Lance Berkman, who underwent arthroscopic surgery to clean out loose cartilage in his left knee on
March 13, was already iffy for the start of the season. Now he’s almost surely headed for the disabled list.
According to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com, Berkman’s knee “swelled up a good bit” after he took some ground balls and tried to run on Tuesday.
“I was hopeful that by increasing activities that it wouldn’t irritate
it, and apparently it’s going to,” he said. “I need to drop down to
where I just swing a little bit. Today I took ground balls and moved
around a good bit, and it didn’t respond like I wanted it to.”
The Astros can backdate Berkman, so if he is forced to begin the season on the DL, he would have to miss at
least the first four games of the season before being eligible
to return to the Astros’ lineup. If Tuesday’s setback was any indication, even that timeline might be a tad optimistic.
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.