Dustin Pedroia's rehab assignment is underway

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Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia began a minor league rehab assignment on Saturday at Triple-A Pawtucket and finished 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored, according to the Boston Globe’s Dan Hickling.  Not a bad start.

“It felt good,” he said. “It’s been a while since I played. Later in
the game I was a little tired, but overall, I felt fine. It’s the most
I’ve done since I got hurt, so I’m pretty excited about it.”

Pedroia has been sidelined since June 25 with a broken bone in his foot, but he’s managed to stay active and is well ahead of the recovery timetable that doctors laid out at the time of the original diagnosis.  If all goes well this weekend, he could return to Boston’s starting lineup as early as Tuesday.

The scrappy second baseman was batting .292/.370/.502 with 12 home runs, eight stolen bases and 41 RBI in 295 at-bats, and he should pick up right where he left off.

The Red Sox are six games back of the Yankees in the American League East and probably won’t catch the Bombers.  But they face only a four-game deficit in the hunt for the Wild Card and may be able to surpass the Rays with a strong August and September.

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.