Royals rookie Johnny Giavotella undergoes hip surgery

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Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reports that Royals rookie second baseman Johnny Giavotella underwent hip surgery to repair a torn labrum, but “is expected to be fine by the start of spring training.”

Giavotella was one of many quality prospects called up by the Royals this season and struggled as a 23-year-old, hitting .247 with a .273 on-base percentage, .376 slugging percentage, and 32/6 K/BB ratio in 46 games.

His minor-league track record is much more impressive, as the 2008 second-round pick hit .322 at Double-A and .338 at Triple-A prior to being called up. He doesn’t have much power, but Giavotella figures to eventually control the strike zone well, get on base at a solid clip, and smack plenty of doubles as the long-term starter at second base.

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.