Felipe Paulino likely to undergo Tommy John surgery

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Felipe Paulino is currently on the disabled list with a groin injury, but suddenly that’s the least of the hard-throwing Royals right-hander’s problems.

Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reports that Paulino has been diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow and is “likely” to undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery.

While rehabbing the groin injury Paulino threw three innings in a Double-A game Wednesday and struggled, and apparently experienced elbow pain in the process. He has a history of arm problems and began the season on the DL with an elbow injury, but tearing an elbow ligament while rehabbing a groin injury is some pretty awful luck.

It’s particularly unfortunate because between all the DL stints Paulino had emerged as a potential breakout starter for the Royals, throwing 162 innings with a 3.55 ERA and 158/63 K/BB ratio since they acquired him from the Rockies for pennies on the dollar last season.

Now he’s likely out until at least mid-2013 and the Royals’ already shaky rotation depth takes another big hit after losing Danny Duffy to Tommy John surgery earlier this year.

J.D. Martinez tells teams he prefers an outfield role

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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.