Two solid rehab starts convinced the Phillies that Roy Oswalt is ready to return from a six-week back injury, so they’ll activate him from the disabled list for Sunday’s game against the Giants.
Oswalt last pitched on June 23, allowing four runs in two innings, and once he was placed on the DL speculation started about the back problems potentially forcing him into retirement.
Instead his fastball was reportedly clocked in the low-90s during six innings of two-run ball Monday at Triple-A, with Oswalt saying afterward that he “feels great” and is no longer in any pain.
Kyle Kendrick did a very nice job filling in for Oswalt, throwing 40 innings with a 3.15 ERA despite just 20 strikeouts, but he’ll likely be pushed back to the bullpen while Vance Worley remains a starter.
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.