Brett Anderson on track for possible July return from Tommy John surgery

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In addition to trading away a ton of young talent this offseason the A’s also lost perhaps their best young pitcher, Brett Anderson, to Tommy John elbow surgery in July.

That knocked him out for at least 12 months, but Jane Lee of MLB.com reports that Anderson’s recovery is going so well that returning almost exactly one year after the surgery is looking like a possibility.

Lee reports that Anderson threw his first post-surgery bullpen session this week and will soon be throwing live batting practice sessions at the A’s spring training complex in Arizona.

Anderson called a mid-July return “the goal” and said that, so far least, he’s been “step by step” with the outlined recovery plan. Oakland will probably be out of contention by July, but getting Anderson back for the second half would give the A’s some increased hope for 2013.

Prior to going under the knife the 24-year-old left-hander made 62 career starts with a 3.66 ERA and 286/92 K/BB ratio in 371 innings.

Report: Red Sox, J.D. Martinez close to a deal

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Red Sox and outfielder J.D. Martinez are close to a deal. He takes care to note that the deal is not done yet and the details are not known yet.

Martinez, 30, entered the offseason as the top free agent hitter. Last season, between the Tigers and Diamondbacks, he hit a lusty .303/.376/.690 with 45 home runs and 104 RBI in 489 plate appearances. He missed the first 33 games of the season with a sprained right foot; one wonders what his numbers might’ve been like if he hadn’t been injured.

The Red Sox were the team most strongly linked to Martinez throughout the offseason, despite the relatively slow-moving market. Martinez said he wants to play in the outfield and the Red Sox are currently spoken for at all three positions with Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley, and Mookie Betts. Hanley Ramirez is also penciled in at DH. Should the Martinez deal become official, the Red Sox may try to trade Bradley and move Benintendi to center field. If Martinez is willing to concede his outfield wishes, the Red Sox could slot him in at DH and move Ramirez to first base.

The AL East is shaping up to be a familiar two-horse race between the Red Sox and Yankees. The addition of Martinez, in a way, answers the Yankees’ addition of Giancarlo Stanton.