Report: Reds inquired about the availability of Hunter Pence

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CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Reds have inquired about the availability of Giants’ outfielder Hunter Pence. Nothing appears to be imminent, as Heyman writes that the two sides don’t “look like a match so far.”

Heyman writes that the Reds are on the lookout for a right-handed bat, so Pence would fit the bill there, but the Reds would have a bit of a logjam in their outfield when Ryan Ludwick returns from his minor league rehab assignment. Still, he’s far from a sure thing to be productive immediately following shoulder surgery.

Heyman reported earlier today that the Giants plan to make a qualifying offer to Pence before he hits free agency this winter, so the asking price in trades figures to be significant. Still, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports hears that the defending World Series champions are willing to entertain offers on their veteran players.

Report: Shohei Ohtani has sprained UCL in pitching elbow

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The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.

Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”

Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.

Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.