Rollins set to begin rehab assignment Monday

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jimmy rollins headshot phillies.jpgPhillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins has played in only 12 games this season and has served two different stints on the 15-day disabled list due to a pesky muscle strain in his right calf. 

When healthy he’s been great, batting .341 with a .462 on-base percentage in 41 at-bats, but it’s hard to help a team in such a limited fashion.  The Phillies trail the red-hot Braves by two games in the National League East standings and have only a slight edge over the Mets.  The club needs offense, and hopefully Rollins will soon be able to provide it.

According to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the veteran shortstop is scheduled to begin a minor league rehab assignment on Monday with Single-A Clearwater.  That should put him about one week away from rejoining the Phillies’ starting lineup and providing his usual brand of offensive spark.  For now, Juan Castro and Wilson Valdez will continue to handle shortstop duties.

Tigers sign Edwin Espinal to minor league deal

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Free agent first baseman Edwin Espinal has signed a minor league deal with the Tigers, the infielder announced Saturday. The move has yet to be confirmed by the team.

Espinal, 23, capped a seven-year run with the Pirates’ minor league affiliates in 2017. He split his season between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis, batting a cumulative .294/.327/.447 with 15 home runs and 31 doubles in 532 plate appearances. While he’s raked at nearly every level so far, he also profiles well on defense, and rounded off his 2017 performance with a perfect fielding percentage, 208 putouts and a Gold Glove award.

Espinal is untested at the major league level and it’s not yet clear if he’ll make the jump in 2018. He showed some positional versatility during his time in the minors, however, and could take reps at third base or DH if necessary. The Tigers are reportedly on the lookout for pitching depth and left-handed bats — two bills the right-handed Espinal doesn’t fit — and presumably have a lot of moves left to make this winter.