Jim Thome is going to play more first base than expected

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Even I can’t distort this quote from Ruben Amaro into a full-blown Best Shape of His Life post, but it’s close — more of a “best shape of the decade” thing — and it is notable all the same.  From Jon Paul Morosi:

“Our medical people are surprised at the shape he’s in,” Amaro said. “They think he might be better now than he was when we first signed him in 2002.” Amaro said it’s conceivable that Thome could play first base as often as four or five times per month.

He’ll get his chance to show it as Ryan Howard heals from his achilles injury, though the first base at bats will also go to John Mayberry and Ty Wigginton.  Still, I hope Thome can play a decent amount of first base so that he’s more of a “Jason Giambi in Colorado” kind of player this year than he is a “Mike Sweeney in Philly” kind of player. More Thome in your life is always a good thing.

Rangers sign Chris Martin to a two-year deal

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Ken Rosenthal reports that the Texas Rangers have signed free agent righty Chris Martin to two-year, $4 million deal.

Martin pitched for the Nippon Ham Fighters for the past two seasons, posting 1.12 ERA in 88 relief innings with excellent strikeout and walk rates. Martin pitched 40 games in the bigs, appearing with the Rockies in 2014 and the Yankees in 2015 with some pretty underwhelming results.

He’s tall — 6’8″ — and tall guys sometimes take a long time to put it all together. Maybe he finally put it all together. The Rangers obviously think he has.