Hanley Ramirez unlikely to be ready for Opening Day after WBC injury

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Hanley Ramirez is headed for an MRI exam on the thumb injury he suffered in the World Baseball Classic title game, so the Dodgers will have a clearer picture of his status tomorrow.

In the meantime manager Don Mattingly indicated the early word on Ramirez is that he’ll miss at least two weeks and could miss 8-10 weeks in a worst-case scenario.

Either way he’s now a long shot to be in the lineup on Opening Day, which is less than two weeks away.

Dee Gordon is currently sidelined by an ankle injury of his own, so Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times writes that the likely Ramirez fill-in would be Luis Cruz. At least assuming it’s a short-term injury rather than the two-month version. As for who would play third base if Cruz shifted to shortstop, Nick Punto and Jerry Hairston Jr. could split time and … well, Juan Uribe is still getting paid to do something.

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.