Rays reliever J.P. Howell diagnosed with gout

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Rays reliever J.P. Howell left the team and traveled back to Florida to have his left foot examined by team doctors yesterday and the southpaw has been diagnosed with gout.

Howell pitched through the pain twice already and Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune reports that he’ll likely be back with the Rays tonight and available out of the bullpen at some point this weekend, avoiding a trip to the disabled list.

He’ll no doubt do anything he can to avoid the DL after missing all of last season and most of this year following shoulder surgery. Howell has allowed 12 runs in 8.2 innings since returning.

Report: Giants in “serious discussions” with Reds to acquire Billy Hamilton

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Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the Giants are engaged in “serious discussions” with the Reds to acquire center fielder Billy Hamilton. Talks are apparently advanced enough that a deal could be completed before the end of the Winter Meetings on Thursday.

It’s no secret that the Giants would like to make an upgrade in the outfield this offseason, as the club has also been linked to Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. Currently, the Giants’ outfield consists of Denard Span, Hunter Pence, and Jarrett Parker.

Hamilton, 27, owns a meager .248/.298/.334 batting line across parts of five seasons in the majors with the Reds. However, he has plenty of speed, having stolen at least 56 bases in each of the last four seasons. Hamilton is also well-regarded for his defense, which would be a boon at spacious AT&T Park.

Hamilton is in his second of three years of arbitration eligibility. He’s projected to earn $5 million for this coming season. Buchanan notes that the Rangers are also interested in potentially acquiring Hamilton.