Brian Fuentes will reclaim the closer spot when he returns

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Thumbnail image for Fuentes_Brian.standard[1].jpgThat according to Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times.  And he’ll be returning tomorrow, in all likelihood.

Fernando Rodney has been 4 for 4 in save opportunities since assuming the closer role (the only appearance in which he gave up any runs was mopup duty in a 10-1 loss to the Twins on April 8th). Still, Scioscia appears to subscribe to the “you don’t lose your job to an injury” school of thought.

Not that he doesn’t hedge a bit: “Right now, Brian is going to pitch the ninth. If we
have to adjust, we will.”  Still, Scioscia also says that he’s not sure if Rodney is “a four-out guy” right now, which suggests that he doesn’t fully trust him. Which, given Rodney’s propensity for wildness, is probably wise.

Report: Red Sox, J.D. Martinez close to a deal

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Red Sox and outfielder J.D. Martinez are close to a deal. He takes care to note that the deal is not done yet and the details are not known yet.

Martinez, 30, entered the offseason as the top free agent hitter. Last season, between the Tigers and Diamondbacks, he hit a lusty .303/.376/.690 with 45 home runs and 104 RBI in 489 plate appearances. He missed the first 33 games of the season with a sprained right foot; one wonders what his numbers might’ve been like if he hadn’t been injured.

The Red Sox were the team most strongly linked to Martinez throughout the offseason, despite the relatively slow-moving market. Martinez said he wants to play in the outfield and the Red Sox are currently spoken for at all three positions with Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley, and Mookie Betts. Hanley Ramirez is also penciled in at DH. Should the Martinez deal become official, the Red Sox may try to trade Bradley and move Benintendi to center field. If Martinez is willing to concede his outfield wishes, the Red Sox could slot him in at DH and move Ramirez to first base.

The AL East is shaping up to be a familiar two-horse race between the Red Sox and Yankees. The addition of Martinez, in a way, answers the Yankees’ addition of Giancarlo Stanton.