Bruce Rondon cleared to resume throwing

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Tigers right-hander Bruce Rondon made just one regular-season appearance after September 2 due to tenderness in his throwing elbow and has not pitched yet in the 2013 postseason. But the hard-throwing 22-year-old Venezuelan is still working to get back.

MLB.com’s Jason Beck reports that Rondon began a throwing program this weekend at the Tigers’ spring training complex in Florida and has experienced no issues so far with his right elbow. He’s only doing light games of catch and still has quite a few hurdles to jump, but the fact that the Tigers are keeping his rehab program going suggests that they believe he could be available if the team is able to advance to the World Series.

Rondon posted a 3.45 ERA and 30 strikeouts across 28 2/3 innings of relief this season for the American League Central-champion Tigers while averaging 97.9 mph with his fastball. He could very well be Detroit’s closer next year, whether or not impending free agent Joaquin Benoit is brought back.

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.