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Ryan Braun could play first and second base in 2018

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Given the recent additions of Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich, the Brewers are looking at a fairly crowded outfield as they gear up for the 2018 season. One solution, according to club GM David Stearns, might be to shift veteran left fielder Ryan Braun to the infield. It’s not a new idea — speculation that Braun could see time at first base surfaced as early as October — but one that seems to have gained more traction this weekend, as Braun is apparently also considering trying his glove at second base:

It’s probably worth noting that Braun hasn’t played middle infield since college, and he hasn’t seen a major league infield (or a minor league one, for that matter) since his rookie season in 2007, the first and last time he played a full year at third base. He didn’t exactly take to it, finishing the year with the third-worst defensive rating in the league and 26 errors in 112 games — more than any third baseman had accumulated in a single season since Casey Blake’s 26-error run with the Indians in 2004.

While it’s not yet clear how serious the Brewers are about stashing Braun at second base, Stearns said Friday that he doesn’t envision Braun’s move to the infield as a permanent or full-time change. The most likely scenario still seems to be one in which Domingo Santana is traded, freeing up space for Braun to retain his position in the outfield, but the club doesn’t appear to be entertaining any serious offers just yet.

Report: J.D. Martinez signing delayed by medical issue

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The Red Sox reportedly inked free agent outfielder J.D. Martinez to a five-year, $110 million contract last Monday, but there appears to be a slight hitch in the process. According to a report from Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston, the team is sorting through a medical issue that has delayed the signing. The specific nature of the issue has yet to be revealed, though Drellich adds that both the team and agent Scott Boras have involved additional medical experts in the process.

For what it’s worth, Martinez remained fairly healthy during his 2017 run with the Tigers and Diamondbacks. The 30-year-old outfielder spent six weeks on the disabled list after suffering a right foot sprain during camp, but managed to make a full recovery by mid-May and didn’t relapse once throughout the rest of the year. Of course, the medical issue holding up his new contract could be of an entirely different nature.

While spring training is already underway for the rest of the Red Sox, club manager Alex Cora doesn’t appear too concerned by Martinez’s absence — yet. “The thing I can do is my thing,” he told MLB.com’s Ian Browne. “My job here is to show up every day and get ’em ready.”