ALCS Game 1 halted in fifth inning by two rain delays

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A fairly sizable rain storm is now making its way through the Dallas-Fort Worth area, so the Rangers’ groundscrew has rolled out the tarp and put a temporary halt to Game 1 of the ALCS. There’s been no estimate as to when the action might resume.

The Rangers took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning courtesy of a David Murphy RBI triple and an Ian Kinsler RBI single. Rejuvenated slugger Nelson Cruz then pushed the lead to 3-0 with a towering solo shot to left field in the fourth.

Rangers lefty C.J. Wilson has scattered five hits and fanned six batters over four scoreless innings, but his night will be ended prematurely if the rain sticks around for more than a couple of minutes. Tigers ace Justin Verlander, who has surrendered three earned runs in four innings of work, might also be finished.

UPDATE, 9:53pm: Joe Torre told the FOX broadcast that the delay will probably last between 25-30 minutes.

UPDATE, 10:02pm: The tarp has been rolled off. Game 1 of the ALCS should be back underway shortly.

UPDATE, 10:23pm: The game has resumed. Wilson will remain on the mound for the Rangers, but it looks like Verlander is coming out. Rick Porcello, scheduled to start Game 4, is warming in the visitors ‘pen.

UPDATE, 10:37pm: The tarp is being rolled back out, with the rain falling harder than ever. Wilson seemed to lose his command while waiting out the first delay and has now allowed two runs in the top of the fifth inning. The Tigers, down 3-2, have the bases loaded and will be looking to pour on more when play resumes.

UPDATE, 11:19pm: The tarp is coming off. Game 1 of the ALCS is expected to resume around 11:45 p.m. ET. Mike Gonzalez will replace Wilson and Porcello will take the mound for the Tigers.

UPDATE, 11:44pm: Play has finally resumed. Gonzalez will face Tigers catcher Alex Avila in the fifth.

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.