Austin Jackson is still a couple weeks away

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Lynn Henning of the Detroit News has an update on center fielder Austin Jackson’s slow-moving rehabilitation from a strained left hamstring:

“Threw today,” Jackson said Friday as he made it clear he will not be returning quickly from a left hamstring that began acting up two weeks ago and placed him on the disabled list May 12.

He is also preparing to hit a baseball from a tee. But it could be a while before Jackson returns to regular duty, which the hamstring-club membership understands as being part of a long, tedious vigil.

Jackson was eligible for activation on Saturday, but it sounds like he’s at least two weeks away from being ready for live major league games. He first has to be cleared for running and to swing a bat, then comes batting practice, and then he will probably head out on a short minor league rehab assignment.

The 26-year-old was hitting .272/.333/.371 with two homers, five stolen bases, 33 runs scored and 11 RBI in 34 games before suffering the hamstring strain. He hit .300/.377/.479 in 137 games last season.

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.