Jesse Crain still not ready to begin throwing

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Houston took a risk in signing Jesse Crain after he missed the entire second half with shoulder problems, although a one-year, $3.25 million deal is certainly a reasonable risk to take on a potential impact bullpen arm.

His status for Opening Day remains in question, as CSNHouston.com reports that Crain won’t even begin throwing for at least another 10 days. Here’s what Crain said about his health while attending FanFest over the weekend:

We have a plan and a certain schedule for that and so far all the rehab has been going well. We just want to make sure that I’m all the way healthy and strong before we get to that next step because you can always speed it up on the back end.

If healthy Crain will be the Astros’ closer and he obviously hopes to rack up a bunch of saves and hit the open market again next offseason with a lot more interest, but his last game action was June 29.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.