UPDATE: Orioles manager Buck Showalter told Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com that Roberts will not be activated tomorrow and is more likely to return Saturday or Sunday.
6:20 p.m. ET: Brian Roberts suffered a ruptured tendon in his right hamstring back on April 4 and eventually required surgery, but he’s finally on the verge of rejoining the Orioles.
According to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, Roberts is expected to be activated from the disabled list for this weekend’s series against the Yankees. Now seven weeks removed from surgery, the 35-year-old went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored in his first rehab game with Triple-A Norfolk on Tuesday and walked twice in a suspended game last night.
Injuries have limited Roberts to just 118 games at the major league level since the start of 2010, but Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he will be the starting second baseman upon his return. Baltimore’s second basemen have combined to bat just .228/.286/.335 so far this season. Only the Royals and Blue Jays have a lower OPS from the position.
The Red Sox are expecting to go to an arbitration hearing with left-handed reliever Fernando Abad, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski said there was a “decent chance” a hearing would be necessary after countering Abad’s $2.7 million request with $2 million.
Abad, 31, pitched just 12 2/3 innings for Boston after the club acquired him from Minnesota at the trade deadline last season. The lefty earned a cumulative 3.66 ERA, 4.2 BB/9 and 7.9 SO/9 for the two teams in 2016. He received $1.25 million in 2016 and will remain under club control (through arbitration) in 2017. A $2.7 million salary would be a hefty increase for the veteran reliever, who has seen a significant decline since he put up a 1.57 ERA for the Athletics in 2014 and who has not amassed more than 0.6 fWAR in any single season to date.
While the Red Sox aren’t close to settling with Abad, Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reports that they may be closing in on a settlement with left-handed starter Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz filed at $5.7 million, while the Sox felt more comfortable at $3.6 million. The two are expected to meet somewhere in the middle to avoid an arbitration hearing later this winter.
The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.