And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Astros 8, Rangers 2: The fundamental problem with baseball opening with a lone, prime time game is that everyone is watching it. And with all of the attention on one game, people are bound to overanalyze it, draw ridiculous conclusions and reach hard to make meaningful statements because, hey, if it’s the only game it must be important, yes?

Well, no, obviously. Unless you think Justin Maxwell is going to hit 324 triples, Matt Harrison is going to strike out over 300 batters while posting an ERA of 8 and Erik Bedard’s three-inning save represents the return of John Hiller-esque firemen. No one believes any of that stuff. But with everyone watching ESPN and listening to Orel and John and Dan comparing journeymen to Derek Jeter and lauding this or that play as “a big league play” or what have you, it felt like something more than Houston vs. Texas.

And thankfully it was just one night of it. Today begins lots of baseball most days, with most games not mattering a whole hell of a lot. Which is kind of nice.

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.