Nelson Cruz to come off disabled list tomorrow

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One of the hottest hitters in baseball before landing on the disabled list with a hamstring injury late last month, Nelson Cruz avoided a setback during a brief rehab assignment at Triple-A and is expected to rejoin the Rangers’ lineup tomorrow.
Cruz told Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com that his time on the DL was “tough” and “boring” while adding that he’s “excited” to see what the Rangers’ lineup is capable of now that he’s back and Ian Kinsler is healthy. Prior to the injury Cruz hit .323 with seven homers and a 1.117 OPS in 19 games batting fifth in the lineup, but Kinsler has since claimed that spot and Cruz will move down to sixth in the order.
Julio Borbon and Elvis Andrus has struggled to give the Rangers much production from the leadoff spot, but a two through six of Michael Young, Josh Hamilton, Vladimir Guerrero, Kinsler, and Cruz has a chance to do some major damage and rookie Justin Smoak gives them another potential big bat at No. 7.

Report: Giants in “serious discussions” with Reds to acquire Billy Hamilton

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Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the Giants are engaged in “serious discussions” with the Reds to acquire center fielder Billy Hamilton. Talks are apparently advanced enough that a deal could be completed before the end of the Winter Meetings on Thursday.

It’s no secret that the Giants would like to make an upgrade in the outfield this offseason, as the club has also been linked to Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. Currently, the Giants’ outfield consists of Denard Span, Hunter Pence, and Jarrett Parker.

Hamilton, 27, owns a meager .248/.298/.334 batting line across parts of five seasons in the majors with the Reds. However, he has plenty of speed, having stolen at least 56 bases in each of the last four seasons. Hamilton is also well-regarded for his defense, which would be a boon at spacious AT&T Park.

Hamilton is in his second of three years of arbitration eligibility. He’s projected to earn $5 million for this coming season. Buchanan notes that the Rangers are also interested in potentially acquiring Hamilton.