Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com reports that Derrek Lee will make his spring debut this afternoon against the Phillies, playing first base and batting third. Orioles manager Buck Showalter said last night that Lee will likely get two or three at-bats if he feels well enough.
Lee, who signed a one-year, $7.25 million contract over the winter, was sidelined for the early part of camp recovering from offseason surgery on his right thumb. The 35-year-old first baseman dealt with soreness in his right wrist once he began taking batting practice, but an MRI earlier this month didn’t reveal anything out of the ordinary.
Lee batted .260/.347/.428 with 19 homers and 80 RBI in 626 plate appearances between the Cubs and Braves last season. Though he played better after joining Atlanta for the stretch run, his .774 OPS was his lowest since 1999 as a member of the Marlins.
Jon Morosi reports that the Blue Jays and starter Marco Estrada are nearing an agreement on a contract extension. The deal is expected to be for one guaranteed year, Morosi adds.
Estrada, 34, was set to become a free agent after the season. He earned $26 million on a two-year contract signed with the Jays in November 2015. While the right-hander has a subpar 4.84 ERA on the season, he has a solid 170/67 K/BB ratio in 176 2/3 innings and has looked much better since the end of July. Between July 31 and his most recent start on Saturday, Estrada owns a 3.75 ERA.
J.A. Happ is the only other starter technically under contract with the Jays next season. Marcus Stroman will be eligible for his second year of arbitration and the Jays will certainly agree to give him a raise on his $3.4 million salary for the 2017 season. The Jays will likely be active this offseason in adding rotation help and they’re starting early by locking up Estrada.
Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. robbed Orioles first baseman Chris Davis of his 25th home run on Tuesday evening, leaping at the fence in center field to make the catch and keep the game scoreless in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Davis swung at the first pitch he saw from Drew Pomeranz, a slider that crossed the middle of the plate.
This game has potential playoff implications, as the first-place Red Sox hold a three-game lead over the Yankees in the NL East. Meanwhile, the Orioles are still in the AL Wild Card race, trailing the Twins by 5.5 games for the second Wild Card slot.