Ryan Howard takes batting practice

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Ryan Howard took batting practice yesterday, the first time he’s done so since being cleared for baseball activities at the end of April.  Ruben Amaro was pleased, calling it “progress.”

The next step will be a minor league rehab assignment, though there’s no timetable for that.  The thinking is still that he’ll return to the bigs in June. Though it is worth noting, nothing has been on schedule in his rehab so far.

Report: Momentum in talks between Mariners, Jon Jay

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MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that there is some momentum in talks between the Mariners and free agent outfielder Jon Jay.

Jay, 32, hit .296/.374/.375 in 433 plate appearances with the Cubs last season, which is adequate. He’s heralded more for his defense and his ability to play all three outfield spots.

The Mariners are losing center fielder Jarrod Dyson to free agency and likely don’t want to rely on Guillermo Heredia next season, hence the interest in Jay. The free agent class for center fielders is otherwise relatively weak.