Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips has been cleared to begin a minor-league rehab assignment Friday at Triple-A after missing the past five weeks following surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament.
Phillips is right on schedule for what was initially expected to be a six-week recovery process.
He was having a poor season before the injury, hitting .272 with seven homers and a .701 OPS that rates as his lowest mark since joining the Reds in 2006. He also swiped just one base in 86 games after averaging 21 steals per season from 2006-2012, so clearly at age 33 he’s showing major signs of decline.
In his absence the Reds have used Skip Schumaker and most recently Kris Negron at second base.
The Rays have traded right-hander Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, per team announcements on Saturday evening. The Twins will receive minor league shortstop Jermaine Palacios in the deal. Despite previous speculation, recently-DFA’d outfielder Corey Dickerson was not included in the trade.
With Odorizzi, the Twins finally have the front-end starter they’ve been seeking all winter. It’s a bargain deal as well, as the 27-year-old righty is under contract through 2019 and didn’t require the club to part with any of their top-shelf prospects in the trade. Odorizzi will be looking to stage a comeback in 2018 after a dismal performance with the Rays last year, during which he eked out a career-worst 4.14 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 through 143 1/3 innings.
Palacios, 21, ranked no. 27 in the Twins’ system last season. He split his year between Single-A Cedar Rapids and High-A Fort Myers, raking a combined .296/.333/.454 with 13 home runs and 20 stolen bases in 539 plate appearances. He’s expected to continue developing at shortstop, though he’s also seen limited time at second and third base during his four-year career in the minors.