Jose Bautista set to begin minor league rehab assignment

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Jose Bautista is finally on the verge of returning from his wrist injury following several setbacks, as John Lott of the National Post reports that the Blue Jays slugger is ready to begin a minor-league rehab assignment.

Bautista took batting practice Saturday and Sunday, saying afterward that his wrist is “100 percent” healthy. He’ll play a few games in the minors and potentially come off the disabled list Friday, explaining: “If I feel good, I’ll request to come back as soon as possible.”

He’s been out since July 16, as the injury derailed a hot streak that saw Bautista hit .279 with 22 homers, 50 RBIs, and a 1.021 OPS over a 58-game stretch after carrying a .177 batting average into mid-May.

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.