Adding Damon would be too little, too late for Red Sox

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The Red Sox pretty obviously have a need for Johnny Damon. No, mediocre defensive left fielders with 764 OPSs aren’t particularly valuable, but Damon is getting on base 36 percent of the time and he’d likely improve his numbers with a return to Fenway Park, where he’s a career .305/.376/.440 hitter.
Damon, though, probably doesn’t need Boston. Sure, the Red Sox are stil theoretically in contention for a playoff spot, while the Tigers are clearly dead in the water, but it’s highly unlikely that the Boston will make up 5 1/2 games on the Rays or 6 1/2 on the Yankees with just 37 games remaining.
And Damon isn’t the kind of player who would affect their chances much one way or the other. For one thing, they’ve actually gotten steady production from the likes of Bill Hall and Darnell McDonald in the outfield. Damon, who would replace either Ryan Kalish or Daniel Nava on the roster, would only be an upgrade against right-handers and probably not a particularly big one. He wouldn’t deserve to play over either Hall or McDonald against left-handers.
For that reason, Damon is probably better off staying where he is. The Tigers are going to keep playing him every day, and they could well have interest in re-signing him this winter. There’s very little chance the Red Sox would attempt to bring him back in 2011.
Damon doesn’t exactly control his own destiny here: the Tigers have the right to pull him back off waivers even if he says he wants to go to Boston. Damon, though, can’t be moved with his approval. He has until Wednesday to decide if he wants out, and it sounds like he’ll probably take his 48 hours to decide.

Adrian Beltre cleared for extended spring training

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Adrian Beltre has been on the disabled list all year because of nagging right calf strain, but he’s about to take a big step toward getting back to action.

Beltre has been cleared to begin playing in extended spring training games. He’ll commence them tomorrow at the Rangers facility in Surprise, Arizona. After three games the team’s doctors will reevaluate him. If things go well, he’ll likely be sent off for a full minor league rehab assignment.

Joey Gallo has filled in for Beltre all season, bringing a lot of power but not much else to the table. While Beltre is 38, his all-around game would be welcomed back on the field and his leadership would be welcomed back in the Rangers clubhouse. On a personal note, Beltre is only 58 hits shy of 3,000 for his career.

Barring a setback, he’ll be back with the big club in early June and will hit the milestone eventually.

Michael Bourn opts out of his minor league deal with the Orioles

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Outfielder Michael Bourn was traded by the Diamondbacks to the Orioles late last season and hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with them through the end of the season. While that’s not enough to outweigh the miserable season he had in Arizona, it was enough to get the O’s to give him a look in spring training with a minor league deal. They signed him to one in late February.

Then, a couple of days later, Bourn broke his finger while playing catch with a football. Unable to play, the O’s cut him. In early April, once Bourn healed, the O’s signed him again. He played 11 games for their Triple-A affiliate and went 9-for-41 with ten walks in 51 plate appearances. While that makes for a decent OBP, his lack of any sort of pop or good contact suggests that if someone throws him strikes, he can’t do much with the ball.

As such, the O’s had not called him up to Baltimore. And as a result of that, Bourn exercised his opt-out rights and became a free agent.

Someone may take a look at him given that his batting eye seems to be intact and given that, in an admittedly small sample size, he still performed last season. But if he does get a look, it’ll likely be back at the minor league level.