A.J. Pierzynski set to begin rehab assignment next week

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A.J. Pierzynski won’t return from the disabled list when he’s first eligible tomorrow, but there’s a good chance he’ll be back with the White Sox as soon as next weekend.

According to Scott Merkin of MLB.com, Pierzynski tested his fractured right wrist yesterday by catching Gavin Floyd’s bullpen session and participating in batting practice.

“All good. All positive,” Pierzynski said. “We’ll do it again tomorrow and see how it reacts, and then go from there.”

Pierzynski was placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career earlier this month. He is tentatively scheduled to play three minor league rehab games with Triple-A Charlotte early next week, including one where he’ll catch Phil Humber, who is on the disabled list with a facial contusion. Barring any setbacks, the veteran backstop will return for a crucial series against the first-place Tigers next weekend.

Pierzynski, 34, is hitting .296/.338/.412 with six home runs, 39 RBI and a .750 OPS over 402 plate appearances this season. Tyler Flowers has filled in admirably during his absence, batting .333 (12-for-36) with one home run, three doubles, one triple and a .984 OPS.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.