Livan Hernandez, Pat Burrell pull the forks out of their backs

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Burrell homer.jpgAt least temporarily. Yesterday Pat Burrell homered during the completion of the Rays-Red Sox game that was suspended on Friday, and then he had a three-run double in the
scheduled game
.  He hadn’t had any home runs or RBI entering play yesterday and was below the Mendoza Line. Overall that’s five straight wins for the Rays, who are doing nothing to make me sorry for picking them to finish ahead of the Sox this year.

But Burrell’s exploits weren’t as unexpected as Livan Hernandez’s. It may be lost in the noise of a no-hitter and a marathon game, but  Hernandez has started out the season with 16 scoreless innings,
including last night’s shutout of the Brewers.  This from a guy who the Nationals didn’t really even want to sign this offseason.

Saturday gave us all kinds of unexpected things. Big performances from Pat the Bat and Livan may have been the most unexpected.

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.