Mets prospect Noah Syndergaard has an elbow injury

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Mets minor leaguer Noah Syndergaard, who ranked among the top 20 prospects in baseball coming into the season according to both Baseball America and MLB.com, has been placed on the Triple-A disabled list with a flexor pronator strain in his right elbow.

Any time a young pitcher is shut down with elbow problems that leads to thoughts of Tommy John surgery, but Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that for now at least the Mets are referring to the injury as “mild.” He is, however, headed to New York to be examined further by team doctors.

Syndergaard has a 4.02 ERA in 10 starts at Triple-A, which is a lot more impressive than it first appears considering a) he’s one of the youngest players in the entire Pacific Coast League at age 21, and b) Las Vegas is a tremendously hitter-friendly environment to call home. He has 57 strikeouts versus 19 walks in 54 innings, which is very promising considering the context.

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.