Adrian Gonzalez set for spring debut this afternoon

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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.

Cardinals acquire Marcell Ozuna from the Marlins

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The St. Louis Cardinals have acquired Marcell Ozuna from the Miami Marlins. Craig Mish of Sirius XM was the first to report that the deal was done. Ozuna still has to take a physical.

There is no report yet about what the Cards had to give up to get Ozuna, but given that the Cards and Marlins put a deal together for Giancarlo Stanton, the sides certainly have discussed various Cards prospects recently.

Ozuna fills a major need for the Cardinals, who had serious weaknesses in the middle of the order in 2017. Last year their number three hitters hit a combined .246/.338/.425 and their cleanup hitters hit 270/.350/.444. Ozuna, 27, had a fantastic offensive year in 2017, hitting .312/.376/.548 with 37 home runs and 124 RBI in 159 games.

Ozuna made $3.5 million this past season and is due for arbitration this offseason. He is under contractual control through 2019.