Mariano Rivera earns 30th save despite surrendering homer

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For just the third time in his Hall of Fame career, Mariano Rivera has given up homers in back-to-back relief appearances.  However, It didn’t prevent him from notching his 30th save Thursday against the Angels.

Rivera, who gave up a two-run homer to Bobby Abreu in a loss to the Angels on Tuesday, came into a 6-2 game with two on and one out in the ninth inning today.  He promptly allowed a three-run homer to Russell Branyan, making it 6-5.  However, he was able to retire the next two batters he faced to end the contest.

The previous times Rivera gave up homers in consecutive appearances came in Aug. 2003 against the Orioles and in April 2009 versus the Red Sox and Tigers.  It also happened to him twice as a rookie in 1995, but he started both games the first time and one game during the second streak.

On the positive side, Rivera’s save today gave him 14 seasons of at least 30, tying Trevor Hoffman’s major league record.  Lee Smith is the only other pitcher with double-digit 30-save seasons, and he finished with just the 10.  Billy Wagner had nine.

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.