Reds' Drew Stubbs busts out of 1-for-37 slump

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Reds outfielder Drew Stubbs broke out of a massive 1-for-37 slump on Saturday to lead the Reds past the Cubs.  He finished with a single, a double and a home run, collecting two RBI and scoring two runs of his own in the 4-3 victory at Chicago’s Wrigley Field.

Stubbs, 25, got off to a rough start this season with a .572 OPS over 70 April at-bats.  But a strong May and a few bursts of power in June and July put him at 11 home runs and 43 RBI at the All-Star break.  Not bad for a rookie known mostly for his speed, and now he’s looking to finish the season strong.

The Reds boast a one-game lead in the National League Central over the heavily-favored Cardinals, who are just about to get underway against the Marlins.  It’s going to be a fun final few months.

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.