Joakim Soria throws for first time since elbow surgery

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From Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star comes word that Royals right-hander Joakim Soria played catch on Tuesday for the first time since undergoing Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery in April.

Soria made 25 throws from a distance of 45 feet and reported no issues during or after the short workout.

He is hoping to be ready for the start of the 2013 season, but that would require a speedier recovery than normal. What’s more likely is that he will be cleared to return at some point in late April or early May.

Jonathan Broxton served as the Royals’ primary closer this summer before being traded to the Reds. Greg Holland then took over, flashing signs of dominance. Soria carries an $8 million club option for next season.

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.