The Cubs have activated Marlon Byrd from the disabled list, exactly six weeks after he suffered facial fractures when he was hit by a pitch from Red Sox right-hander Alfredo Aceves on May 21.
Byrd is batting sixth and playing center field this afternoon against the White Sox. He was cleared to return after going 4-for-15 (.267) with a home run and a double over four minor league rehab games with Triple-A Iowa.
As Aaron mentioned earlier this week, the 33-year-old is expected to wear a specially-designed helmet in order to protect his face.
Byrd was hitting .308/.346/.419 with three home runs and 11 RBI over 182 plate appearances prior to the injury.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today says that the San Francisco Giants “have keen interest” in Rays third baseman Evan Longoria.
Longoria is coming off his worst season as a major leaguer, having hit .261/.313/.424 with 20 homers in 2017. He’s also still owed $86 million through 2022. Which, back when the deal was signed seemed like quite a bargain for the Rays — and likely has been over the duration of the contract — but now seems somewhat steep for the 32 year-old third baseman. That said, the Giants currently have Pablo Sandoval penciled in at third base on their depth chart, so Longoria would definitely be an upgrade, even if 2017’s dip wasn’t just a blip.
Nightengale says that for the Giants to take on Longoria, the Rays would have to take on a high salary veteran such as Denard Span or Hunter Pence. Span is owed $9 million in 2018, with a $4 million buyout on a $12 million option for 2019. Pence is owed $18.5 million in 2018 in the final year of his contract and has a full no-trade clause.
If he stays with the Rays, Longoria will achieve 10-5 rights — full no-trade protection due to being a ten-year veteran with five years of service on the same club — so if the Rays are going to move him, it’ll be much easier this offseason, not once the 2018 season begins.