Skip Schumaker diagnosed with torn oblique muscle

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An MRI exam revealed that Skip Schumaker has a torn right oblique muscle, making it all but certain that he’ll begin the season on the disabled list.

Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that the Cardinals won’t have a timetable for his return until getting more information tomorrow, but general manager John Mozeliak admitted that it’s “highly unlikely” Schumaker will be on the Opening Day roster.

And considering how even minor oblique injuries tend to linger, a tear could easily sideline Schumaker for much of April.

Schumaker was slated to be used primarily in the outfield, so Shane Robinson, Matt Carpenter, and Adron Chambers are the leading in-house options to replace him and Rule 5 pick Erik Komatsu could also get a look.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.