Twins welcome back Jason Marquis, designate Luke Hughes for assignment

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Jason Marquis was away from the Twins during spring training because his daughter got into a serious bicycling accident, but after building up his arm strength at Double-A he’s ready to join the rotation tonight.

He faces the Yankees in New York, so welcome back and … good luck.

Rather than dropping a pitcher to make room for Marquis on the roster the Twins kept a 13-man pitching staff and instead designated infielder Luke Hughes for assignment. That move is somewhat surprising, but Hughes is a poor defensive second baseman/third baseman who doesn’t really hit enough to be an everyday option at first base or an outfield corner.

There’s a decent chance another team claims him off waivers, but at age 27 and with little success in the majors or at Triple-A the Twins are unlikely to regret losing Hughes.

Report: Giants in “serious discussions” with Reds to acquire Billy Hamilton

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Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the Giants are engaged in “serious discussions” with the Reds to acquire center fielder Billy Hamilton. Talks are apparently advanced enough that a deal could be completed before the end of the Winter Meetings on Thursday.

It’s no secret that the Giants would like to make an upgrade in the outfield this offseason, as the club has also been linked to Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. Currently, the Giants’ outfield consists of Denard Span, Hunter Pence, and Jarrett Parker.

Hamilton, 27, owns a meager .248/.298/.334 batting line across parts of five seasons in the majors with the Reds. However, he has plenty of speed, having stolen at least 56 bases in each of the last four seasons. Hamilton is also well-regarded for his defense, which would be a boon at spacious AT&T Park.

Hamilton is in his second of three years of arbitration eligibility. He’s projected to earn $5 million for this coming season. Buchanan notes that the Rangers are also interested in potentially acquiring Hamilton.