Josh Johnson has inflamed shoulder, strained back

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Joe Frisaro of MLB.com speculated earlier today that Josh Johnson “may be done for the season” due to injuries to his back and shoulder and the Marlins’ desire to protect their prized right-hander.  That could still be true, but the Fish did get some good news this evening.

According to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald (via Twitter), an MRI on Wednesday afternoon showed inflammation in Johnson’s right shoulder and a slight muscle strain in the middle of the right-hander’s back, but no structural damage.

It’s good news both in the long-term and possibly in the short-term as well.

The Marlins, because Johnson has no serious injuries, could decide to their ace back into the starting rotation for the final four weeks of the regular season.  He has posted an incredible 2.30 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 9.11 K/9 in 28 starts this season and is still alive in the chase for the National League Cy Young.  That is, if he continues to pitch and post award-worthy numbers.

J.D. Martinez tells teams he prefers an outfield role

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Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.

That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.

Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.