Manny set to return to Dodgers on Saturday

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manny headshot.JPGManny Ramirez, sidelined since the night of April 22 with a left calf strain, is expected to return to the Dodgers’ starting lineup this Saturday, according to Jim Peltz of the Los Angeles Times.  Big stuff for the Mannywood faithful.

Ramirez went 1-for-3 with an RBI single on Tuesday in his first rehab game at Single-A Inland Empire and is scheduled to make another appearance for the minor league club on Thursday.  He took batting practice Wednesday at Dodger Stadium.

The 37-year-old decorated slugger was batting .415 with a 1159 OPS, two home runs and 12 RBI before his unfortunate injury.  The Dodgers will hope he can remain that hot once he returns.  They’ve dropped six of their last 10 games and are dead last in the National League West standings.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.