Martin Perez suffers fractured forearm

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Lefty Martin Perez, considered the front runner for the Rangers’ #5 spot in the rotation, suffered a fracture of the ulna bone when a line drive was hit back up the middle and struck him in this afternoon’s spring training game against the Mariners. Perez hadn’t allowed a hit in his three innings of work prior to the injury.

The top prospect, soon to be 22 years old, could return in May. In 38 innings in the Majors last year, Perez posted a 5.45 ERA. Baseball America has listed him in their top-100 rankings in each of the last five years.

Justin Grimm is fighting for the fifth rotation spot as well, but gave up six runs in 2.1 innings after entering the game following Perez’s removal. Mike Peasley points out that the Rangers wouldn’t necessarily need a fifth starter until the eighth game of the season due to two off-days.

The Rangers have “remained in contact” with free agent starter Kyle Lohse’s agent Scott Boras. The Perez injury may open up the door for Lohse.

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.