Josh Hamilton hasn’t played since September 4, when he crashed into an outfield wall at the Twins’ Target Field and suffered a bruised ribcage and shoulder.
According to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Rangers took a drastic step earlier this week toward getting him back on the field, injecting the area of his ribs with two cortisone shots.
Hamilton is hoping to feel improvement by Saturday and is hoping to return to the Rangers’ starting lineup by early next week. He was batting an MVP-worthy .361/.414/.635 with 31 homers and 97 RBI over 507 at-bats before the sudden injury. The 29-year-old has also shown excellent range in center field, registering a 9.3 UZR/150 according to the great FanGraphs.
The Rangers have a massive 10-game lead over the A’s in the American League West, so they have no real reason to rush Hamilton. But it would be nice for him to get back in the groove of playing every day before the first week of October.
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.