Madison Bumgarner to start Game 1 of NLCS against Cardinals

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As soon as the Giants learned they would be facing the Cardinals in the NLCS, they announced that Madison Bumgarner will start Game 1 on Sunday night while Ryan Vogelsong will start Game 2 on Monday.

This sets up Matt Cain to start Game 3 on Wednesday in St. Louis and a possible Game 7 back in San Francisco. Meanwhile, Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com believes Tim Lincecum will return from the bullpen to start Game 4.

Bumgarner allowed four runs in 4 1/3 innings in a Game 2 loss to the Reds in the NLDS. Meanwhile, Vogelsong tossed five innings of one-run ball in Game 3.

The Cardinals have yet to announce their rotation for the NLCS, but Lance Lynn is expected to start Game 1 while Chris Carpenter will likely get the ball in Game 2.

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.