Ryan Zimmerman AP

Ryan Zimmerman throws on field for first time since shoulder surgery

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Ryan Zimmerman has yet to make his spring debut, but he continues to make encouraging progress from offseason surgery on his right shoulder.

According to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, Zimmerman threw to second base for the first time today for the first time this spring. He’s hoping to make throws across the infield by the end of the weekend.

While his shoulder issues regularly resulted in awkward throws from third base last year, Zimmerman said that things are now “back to normal.” One Nationals’ person agreed with the assessment, telling Kilgore that Zimmerman is “not fighting his arm slot.”

The current plan is for Zimmerman to be eased into Grapefruit League action as the designated hitter. If all goes well over the next few days, he could be in the lineup at third base late next week.

Zimmerman, 28, batted .282/.346/.478 with 25 home runs, 95 RBI and an .824 OPS last season.

UPDATE: Dan Kolko of MASN reports that Zimmerman will make his spring debut as the DH on Sunday.

Phillies sign outfielder Michael Saunders

CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 3: Michael Saunders #21 of the Toronto Blue Jays runs to first after being walked during the third inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on May 3, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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The Phillies have signed free agent outfielder Michael Saunders.

Saunders was an All-Star in 2016 due to his wonderful start, but he cratered in the second half of the season. Overall is numbers looked good — he hit 24 homers and posted a line of .253/.338/.478, but his second half line was .178/.282/.357 in 58 games. He’s not the best defender around either.

The Phillies could use him, however, and if he has another red hot first half, there’s a decent chance they could flip him if they wanted to.

Jose Bautista and the Blue Jays nearing a two-year, $35-40 million deal

Toronto Blue Jays Jose Bautista flips his bat after hitting a three-run homer during seventh inning game 5 American League Division Series baseball action in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
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It was first reported that the Blue Jays and Jose Bautista were close to a deal last night. Now Ken Rosenthal reports that the deal is near completion. It will likely a two-year contract in the $35-40 million range.

Bautista had a tough 2016, hitting .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs and 69 RBI, and some clubs likely considered a long-term deal for the 36-year-old too risky, this leading to the relative lack of reported interest in Bautista by other clubs. But back-to-back ALCS appearances by the Jays and the success and popularity Bautista has experienced in Toronto make his re-signing there a pretty sensible move for all involved.

The Jays, who already lost Edwin Encarnacion to free agency, get their slugger back on a short term deal. Unlike anyone else, they don’t have to give up the draft pick attached to him via the qualifying offer. Bautista, in turn, will make, on average, more than he would’ve made on the qualifying offer if he would’ve accepted it and a raise over the $14 million he made in 2016.