Jake Westbrook begins rehab assignment at Double-A

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Jake Westbrook made his first rehab start last night, tossing 3.2 innings at Double-A as he comes back from elbow inflammation.

Westbrook allowed one run on six hits, striking out five and walking zero. He threw 60 total pitches and afterward told Chad Thornburg of MLB.com that he “felt pretty good.”

Westbrook indicated that he could return to the Cardinals’ rotation after just one more rehab start, which is expected to be this weekend at Single-A. He’s been on the DL since May 12, but setbacks delayed his timetable.

Report: Giants in “serious discussions” with Reds to acquire Billy Hamilton

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Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the Giants are engaged in “serious discussions” with the Reds to acquire center fielder Billy Hamilton. Talks are apparently advanced enough that a deal could be completed before the end of the Winter Meetings on Thursday.

It’s no secret that the Giants would like to make an upgrade in the outfield this offseason, as the club has also been linked to Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. Currently, the Giants’ outfield consists of Denard Span, Hunter Pence, and Jarrett Parker.

Hamilton, 27, owns a meager .248/.298/.334 batting line across parts of five seasons in the majors with the Reds. However, he has plenty of speed, having stolen at least 56 bases in each of the last four seasons. Hamilton is also well-regarded for his defense, which would be a boon at spacious AT&T Park.

Hamilton is in his second of three years of arbitration eligibility. He’s projected to earn $5 million for this coming season. Buchanan notes that the Rangers are also interested in potentially acquiring Hamilton.