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Tigers will monitor James McCann for concussion after beaning, home plate collision

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The Detroit News’ Chris McCosky reports that the Tigers are monitoring James McCann for signs of a concussion after the catcher was roughed up in back-to-back incidents on Thursday and Friday. There’s no talk of a disabled list stint yet, nor has McCann reported any cases of nausea or dizziness, but he told reporters Saturday that sometimes the symptoms can be latent.

McCann was shaken up on a hit by pitch during Thursday’s 10-6 win over the Yankees, when a 98-MPH fastball from Dellin Betances clocked him in the head. The pitch immediately felled the catcher, who laid on the ground for several moments before standing and eventually taking his base. With emotions still running high from the previous inning’s brawl, Betances was ejected.

The second incident followed in the seventh inning of the Tigers’ series opener against the White Sox. McCann tag teamed with second baseman Ian Kinsler to catch Yolmer Sanchez as he attempted to steal home, resulting in a hard — though not illegal — collision at the plate.

While the Tigers haven’t been treating their backstop with kid gloves, they can’t afford to lose him if they intend to make a last-ditch effort to enter the AL wild card race next month. McCann isn’t just a fixture behind the dish; he’s been one of the hottest hitters in Detroit’s lineup during the second half, too, and entered Saturday’s game slashing .330/.388/.472 with three home runs and an .860 OPS through 116 PA.

Whatever the extent of head athletic trainer Kevin Rand’s concerns, it wasn’t enough to sideline McCann through the rest of the weekend series. He’s scheduled to start behind the plate when the Tigers take on the White Sox for Game 2 at 7:10 ET.

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.