Bryce Harper runs and throws in first rehab workout

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Nationals outfield prospect Bryce Harper hasn’t played in a game at Double-A Harrisburg since straining his right hamstring on August 18.

Harper won’t return to action before Harrisburg’s regular season schedule is through, but he could be ready in time for the Eastern League playoffs, which begin on Wednesday of next week.

According to Pete Kerzel of MASN, Harper went through his first rehab workout on Thursday in Pennsylvania, reporting no lingering pain or discomfort in his right hammy. He ran at about half-speed from right field to center field, played catch, then practiced his outfield throws.

Harper, 18, batted .297/.392/.501 with 17 home runs, 58 RBI and 26 stolen bases in 109 games this season between Single-A and Double-A. He has already committed to playing in the Arizona Fall League.

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.