Mark D. Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reports that Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro suffered a right hamstring strain Sunday in a 5-3 Cactus League loss to the Royals. The strain is being labeled as “mild,” but it could cost Castro around a week of action.
Castro sustained the injury while sliding into second base on a stolen base attempt. He was replaced by top infield prospect Javier Baez, who’s getting time at third base, second base, and shortstop this spring.
Castro posted a weak .245/.284/.347 batting line with only 10 homers and nine steals in 705 plate appearances last season for Chicago.
He is under contractual contract with the Cubs through the 2020 campaign.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Red Sox and outfielder J.D. Martinez are close to a deal. He takes care to note that the deal is not done yet and the details are not known yet.
Martinez, 30, entered the offseason as the top free agent hitter. Last season, between the Tigers and Diamondbacks, he hit a lusty .303/.376/.690 with 45 home runs and 104 RBI in 489 plate appearances. He missed the first 33 games of the season with a sprained right foot; one wonders what his numbers might’ve been like if he hadn’t been injured.
The Red Sox were the team most strongly linked to Martinez throughout the offseason, despite the relatively slow-moving market. Martinez said he wants to play in the outfield and the Red Sox are currently spoken for at all three positions with Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley, and Mookie Betts. Hanley Ramirez is also penciled in at DH. Should the Martinez deal become official, the Red Sox may try to trade Bradley and move Benintendi to center field. If Martinez is willing to concede his outfield wishes, the Red Sox could slot him in at DH and move Ramirez to first base.
The AL East is shaping up to be a familiar two-horse race between the Red Sox and Yankees. The addition of Martinez, in a way, answers the Yankees’ addition of Giancarlo Stanton.