Giancarlo Stanton returns from DL after missing 25 games

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Giancarlo Stanton was expected to miss 4-6 weeks following arthroscopic knee surgery on July 8 and sure enough he’s back from the disabled list one day short of a month later.

Stanton returns after missing 25 games, during which the Marlins went 8-17 to fall out of contention and into a last-place tie in the NL East.

Stanton initially tried to play through loose bodies in his knee, but was in and out of the lineup before ultimately deciding to go under the knife. Prior to being shut down he hit .284 with 19 homers, 20 doubles, and a career-high .919 OPS in 80 games and made his first All-Star team.

He went 5-for-16 with two homers on a brief minor-league rehab assignment at Single-A.

Reds ink Oliver Perez to a minor-league deal

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The Reds have signed free agent reliever Oliver Perez to a minor-league contract, the team announced Saturday. The deal comes with a major-league invite and could be worth $1.25 million if Perez secures a roster spot this spring, with an additional $500,000 in potential performance bonuses.

Perez, 36, is coming off of a two-year run with the Nationals. He produced a 4.64 ERA, 3.3 BB/9 an d10.6 SO/9 through 50 relief appearances and 33 innings with the club in 2017. The veteran lefty hasn’t kept an ERA under 4.00 in at least four seasons, but he continues to be undeniably solid against left-handed batters, holding them to a .227/.301/.364 batting line over 18 1/3 innings last year.

While returning southpaw Wandy Peralta appears to have locked down a bullpen spot already, Perez will still compete for another role against fellow left-handers Cody Reed and Amir Garrett, both of whom also have experience in the rotation. If Perez doesn’t break camp with the team, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon notes, he’ll be permitted to opt out of his contract. The Reds are currently looking to bounce back from a dismal performance in 2017, one in which their bullpen ranked 28th among major league teams with a collective 5.63 ERA and -1.2 fWAR.