Victor Martinez not close to returning from fractured thumb

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When the Red Sox placed Victor Martinez on the disabled list last month the expectation was that he’d be ready to return shortly after the All-Star break, but according to Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe “that doesn’t appear to be the case any longer.”
Benjamin reports that “there continues to be no timeline for when Martinez will return” from a fractured thumb, for which he’s still wearing a splint.
Here’s what Martinez had to say about his status:

It’s getting a little better. Swelling’s going down. Still feeling pain, but we’ll see. Just taking it day-by-day. As soon as the pain goes down, I’m going to be able to at least put my glove on there and go out there and play. Unfortunately I just can’t put my hand in the glove. That’s the thing. Pain, still.

Jason Varitek is also on the DL with a fractured foot and likely won’t be ready to return until some point next month, so the Red Sox may be stuck with the Triple-A caliber duo of Kevin Cash and Gustavo Molina behind the plate for a while.

Yasiel Puig was late to a workout on Monday, so Dave Roberts benched him

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Earlier, Craig wrote about how Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig is back in manager Dave Roberts’ doghouse once again. Puig didn’t slide into second base when he was caught stealing to end Saturday’s game, which irked Roberts.

Puig didn’t earn himself any brownie points on Monday as he was late to a team workout and was benched as a result, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports. Roberts said, “That was a decision he made, not me.” Roberts added that he was disappointed in Puig, though he did note that the former All-Star’s behavior has been improved for most of the season.

Puig, 26, has had a solid season, batting .259/.339/.474 with 26 home runs, 70 RBI, 66 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 554 plate appearances. While he hasn’t provided value on the same level as Justin Turner or Corey Seager, he’s been a valuable part of the lineup which makes this drama all the more unfortunate with just a week and a half before the start of the NLDS.

MLB, MLBPA grant Pirates exemption for Jung Ho Kang to participate in Dominican Winter League

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Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the Pirates were granted an exemption by Major League Baseball and the players’ union which will allow infielder Jung Ho Kang to participate in the Dominican Winter League without being removed from the restricted list.

Kang, 30, has been denied a visa by the Department of State as a result of his third DUI in South Korea last September. Kang was also under investigation in 2015 for alleged sexual assault.

Kang is under contract through the end of 2018 and the Pirates have a club option for the 2019 season as well, so it makes sense they would try to get him into some type of baseball action ahead of next season. The infielder has hit .273/.355/.483 in 837 plate appearances across two seasons in the majors. As Brink notes, Kang has already arrived to the Dominican Republic and will work out with his team, Aguilas Cibaenas, ahead of the start of the season on October 20.