Brett Lawrie having trouble with grip, likely out until August

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Bad news here for prospect lovers.

According to Shi Davidi of Canada’s Sportsnet, Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie is still having trouble gripping a bat in his once-fractured left hand and is not expected to resume playing in live minor league games until early August.

Lawrie was nearly called to the major leagues at the beginning of June, but he suffered a small fracture in his hand while playing for Triple-A Las Vegas and the promotion plans had to be scrapped. With the slow progress he’s made in his rehab, it’s feasible to wonder whether the Jays will hold off on adding the 21-year-old to the big league roster until late August or even September.

Lawrie was batting .354/.415/.677 with 15 home runs and 11 stolen bases in 52 games before the injury.

J.D. Martinez tells teams he prefers an outfield role

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Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.

That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.

Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.