We heard the other day that Adrian Gonzalez was hoping to make his spring debut “sometime next week,” or “maybe even earlier.” Consistent with his rehab from offseason shoulder surgery, Gonzalez is running ahead of schedule.
According to Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe, Adrian Gonzalez is in the starting lineup for the Red Sox this afternoon. He’ll bat third and play first base against Josh Johnson and the Marlins.
The Red Sox almost have their full group of regulars out there today. The only one that’s missing is Carl Crawford, but still, Ellsbury, Pedroia, Gonzalez and Youkilis make for a pretty fantastic top four.
The 28-year-old Gonzalez averaged 32 homers, 35 doubles and 100 RBI during his five-year stint with the Padres. That’s despite his .267/.367/.442 batting line at PETCO Park, a place that is death for left-handed power. He could be scary good in Fenway Park.
Free agent outfielder Michael Saunders has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Royals, the team announced Friday. While the move comes just two days after Saunders agreed to terms with the Pirates, he allegedly asked for his release after the club acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson in a multi-player swap with the Rays on Thursday.
After earning his first spot on an All-Star team in 2016, Saunders followed up a solid campaign with a career-worst performance in 2017. The 31-year-old split the season between the Phillies and Blue Jays’ camps, batting a combined .202/.256/.344 with six home runs and -0.7 fWAR in 234 plate appearances. Although he remained healthy throughout the year, with no sign of the lingering hamstring strain that has plagued him on and off since 2013, he wasn’t productive enough to merit a full-time role on either roster.
With Dickerson slated for a starting role in Pittsburgh, it was unlikely that Saunders would have commanded anything other than a backup role in 2018. Now, however, he’ll compete for playing time amid a slew of outfield options, including Alex Gordon, Cody Asche, Jorge Bonifacio, Tyler Collins and Paulo Orlando.