Ryan Howard cleared for light exercise

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It’s been over two weeks since Ryan Howard underwent a procedure to remove an infection around his surgically repaired left Achilles tendon.  He’s been in a walking boot all that time and has not been doing any kind of workouts. But that’s about to change as he’s been cleared for “light exercise.”

He’s still in the boot, however, do don’t go too crazy yet.  And Howard is reigning-in expectations:

“Right now, I just got cleared to do a little bit of modified stuff, so basically riding a bike, doing a little leg motion-type stuff, trying to do what I can so when I’m actually out of the boot I can hit the ground running. I’m going to try to stay optimistic and see what happens, but like I’ve said before, there’s really no time limit on it. Once it’s 100 percent, we’ll go from there.”

I wish Howard the best in recovering quickly, but I ain’t gonna lie. I wanna see Jim Thome play a lot of first base and see what happens.

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.