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Dusty Baker says Bryce Harper is “a long way from running”

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Two and a half weeks ago the Nationals placed Bryce Harper on the 10-day disabled list with a “significant bone bruise” in his left knee after he slipped on first base and hyperextended his left knee. At the time Nationals’ general manager Mike Rizzo told reporters that he didn’t believe the injury to be season-ending, though he didn’t have a clear timetable in mind for Harper’s recovery.

Today Dusty Baker gave an update. It’s not specific one way or the other, but it’s not terribly promising either: Baker said Harper is “a long way from running.”

Jayson Werth is back and is playing right field with Howie Kendrick covering left. The Nationals will be fine for the regular season without Harper — they have a 14-game lead in the NL East — but not having him in the playoffs would be a big, big problem.

 

 

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.