The Yankees lineup tonight includes two welcome names: Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis. The former is batting cleanup and playing first base. The latter is DHing and batting second.
Teixeira, of course, has been out since early in spring training, when he tore the tendon sheath in his right wrist while taking batting practice in preparation for the World Baseball Classic. Youkilis has been on the 15-day disabled list since April 28 with a lumbar spine strain.
Teixeira has been though by some to have his years of stardom all in the rear view mirror. Youk was hitting .266/.347/.422 in 72 plate appearances before he went down, which was not the Youk of old. But given what Joe Girardi has had to work with in recent weeks, both in the lineup have to be considered genuine sights for sore eyes.
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.