Takashi Saito cleared to rejoin bullpen after shoulder scare

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Atlanta received some good news yesterday, as an MRI exam revealed merely tendinitis in Takashi Saito’s sore shoulder.
Bobby Cox said he “was prepared for that to be the end” for the 40-year-old Saito when he exited Friday’s game with arm pain, but he’s expected to be available out of the Braves’ bullpen at some point this weekend.
Aside from the aches and pains that include a midseason stint on the disabled list with a hamstring injury in addition to the latest shoulder problems Saito has shown no signs of slowing down, posting a 2.52 ERA, .196 opponents’ batting average, and 69/14 K/BB ratio in 54 innings as Billy Wagner’s primary setup man.
He had a couple rough outings after coming off the DL in late June, but Saito has a 1.03 ERA and 32/3 K/BB ratio in 26 innings spread over his last 27 appearances. He’s had one of the best after-age-35 careers of any reliever in baseball history.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.