Nick Punto visited a specialist after showing up at Cardinals camp with groin soreness and the doctor gave him some bad news, as Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that he’ll be out 8-12 weeks following hernia surgery.
According to Goold the diagnosis is that Punto has a “sports hernia/hockey hernia” and general manager John Mozeliak indicated that the Cardinals don’t expect him to be available until “sometime in May.”
Punto signed a one-year, $750,000 deal with St. Louis after spending the past seven seasons in Minnesota. He was expected to serve as the Cardinals’ primary backup infielder and would likely have been in line for some early starts at third base depending on David Freese’s status. Ramon Vazquez, Tyler Greene, and Daniel Descalso are the other utility man candidates in camp.
Update (5:16 PM ET): ESPN’s Pedro Gomez is reporting that the deal is final.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Red Sox and outfielder J.D. Martinez are close to a deal. He takes care to note that the deal is not done yet and the details are not known yet.
Martinez, 30, entered the offseason as the top free agent hitter. Last season, between the Tigers and Diamondbacks, he hit a lusty .303/.376/.690 with 45 home runs and 104 RBI in 489 plate appearances. He missed the first 33 games of the season with a sprained right foot; one wonders what his numbers might’ve been like if he hadn’t been injured.
The Red Sox were the team most strongly linked to Martinez throughout the offseason, despite the relatively slow-moving market. Martinez said he wants to play in the outfield and the Red Sox are currently spoken for at all three positions with Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley, and Mookie Betts. Hanley Ramirez is also penciled in at DH. Should the Martinez deal become official, the Red Sox may try to trade Bradley and move Benintendi to center field. If Martinez is willing to concede his outfield wishes, the Red Sox could slot him in at DH and move Ramirez to first base.
The AL East is shaping up to be a familiar two-horse race between the Red Sox and Yankees. The addition of Martinez, in a way, answers the Yankees’ addition of Giancarlo Stanton.