Brandon Inge came into spring training in The Best Shape Of His Life, but now he’s leaving camp on the disabled list with a strained groin.
Because the DL stint is backdated he’ll be eligible to return on April 14 and Inge told Jason Beck of MLB.com that he expects to be ready by then, although it’s worth noting that he previously said he expected to be ready for Opening Day too.
Miguel Cabrera’s move to third base pushed Inge into a competition with Ryan Raburn and Ramon Santiago at second base and his defense there drew positive reviews, but as usual he struggled to hit and was not in line for regular starts to begin the season.
Beck notes that the Tigers could eventually send him back to Triple-A, as they did last season, because there’s never any danger of another team claiming the 34-year-old Inge and his $5.5 million salary off waivers.
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.