From Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette comes word that Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips is out of the starting lineup again for Sunday’s series-finale against the Pirates.
Wilson Valdez will get the nod in his place, batting seventh against Bucs right-hander A.J. Burnett.
Phillips hasn’t started a game this month due to a left calf strain that he suffered near the end of July. But he is still expected to avoid the 15-day disabled list and should return at some point early this week.
The 31-year-old is hitting .296 with a .793 OPS, 13 home runs and 62 RBI in 92 games this season.
Cincinnati has the best record in baseball and leads Pittsburgh by 5 1/2 games in the NL Central standings.
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.