D.J. Short

Cole Hamels

Cole Hamels says he’s “open-minded” to all potential trade scenarios

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Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com got some very candid comments from Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels, who appears likely to be dealt prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

Hamels can be traded to nine teams without his approval. According to Salisbury, that list includes the Yankees, Rangers, Nationals, Cardinals, Braves, Padres, Dodgers, Cubs and Mets. He hasn’t been approached about waiving his no-trade clause to accept a deal to one of the 20 teams not on that list, but it’s clear that he’d do so if the right situation presents itself:

“But I’m open-minded on everybody and everything.”

Even Toronto and Houston?

“Yes,” he said. “I’ve always been open-minded. I will think about everything.”

Hamels doesn’t deny that Toronto and Houston are on his no-trade list. It’s nothing personal.

“I had to make a list back in October,” he said. “I came up with a criteria based on a lot of things — winning and losing, family. It was only nine teams. Those teams were in the middle of the pack.”

Toronto is contending in a tight American League East.

“I haven’t said anything to anybody about Toronto,” Hamels said.

Houston is one of the surprise teams in the majors. The Astros lead the AL West and have the second-best record in the league. Hamels would be an excellent addition to that young club.

“They just didn’t make the nine-team list,” Hamels said of the Astros. “When I made the list in October –- who knew?”

Waiving the no-trade clause would likely require the acquiring team to pick up his $20 million option for 2019. Hamels is making a $22.5 million salary in 2015 and is guaranteed $73.5 million from 2016-2018. The 31-year-old has a 3.26 ERA and 106/34 K/BB ratio in 99 1/3 innings across 15 starts this season.

Johan Santana giving up on comeback attempt this season; will try again in 2016

Johan Santana Getty
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Sad update to pass along about one of our favorites here at HardballTalk. According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, left-hander Johan Santana has decided to give up on his comeback attempt for this season and will try again in 2016.

Santana signed a minor league contract with the Blue Jays in February, but he has been sidelined with a toe infection. He ultimately decided that he won’t have enough time to ramp things up to pitch in the majors this season.

Santana hasn’t pitched in the majors since August 17, 2012 as a member of the Mets. He missed all of 2013 after his second shoulder capsule surgery and had a comeback attempt with the Orioles halted last season due to a torn Achilles. He’ll turn 37 years old next March. If anybody can defy the odds and make it back on his own terms, it’s Santana, but it’s fair to wonder at this point if he’ll ever pitch in the majors again.

Jacoby Ellsbury could begin minor league rehab assignment Monday

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 10:  (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT)    Jacoby Ellsbury #22 of the New York Yankees looks on against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium on May 10, 2015 in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Yankees defeated the Orioles 6-2.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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Jacoby Ellsbury has been sidelined since May 19 with a sprained right knee, but he’s finally getting closer to rejoining the Yankees.

According to Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Friday that Ellsbury will go through a workout prior to today’s game against the Astros. If all goes well, he could be cleared to begin a minor league rehab assignment as soon as Monday. This would likely set up him up to be activated for the 4th of July weekend.

Ellsbury, 31, was batting .324/.412/.372 with one home run, six RBI, and 14 steals over 37 games prior to the injury. The Yankees are fourth in the majors in runs scored this month, so they have done a good job staying afloat without one of their most important pieces.

Joey Gallo starting in center field for Rangers on Saturday

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 10:  Joey Gallo #13 of the Texas Rangers enters the dugout before the game against the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum on June 10, 2015 in Oakland, California. The Oakland Athletics defeated the Texas Rangers 5-4. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Interesting lineup note for the Rangers today, as rookie Joey Gallo is starting in center field against the Blue Jays. Let’s just say that he doesn’t have much in the way of experience at the position…

Gallo has appeared in 13 games in left field this season between the majors and the minors, but otherwise he has exclusively played third base. However, he’s getting the nod over the struggling Leonys Martin in center field this afternoon.

Adrian Beltre returned from his thumb injury this week and the Rangers are close to getting Josh Hamilton and Delino DeShields, Jr. back from the disabled list, so Gallo could be headed down to the minors soon. The 21-year-old is batting .224/.306/.461 with five home runs and 10 RBI over his first 22 games in the majors. He has struck out in 42.4 percent of his plate appearances.

Daniel Murphy nearing return to Mets

PHOENIX, AZ - JUNE 04:  Daniel Murphy #28 of the New York Mets stands on second base after hitting a double against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on June 4, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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UPDATE: According to the Mets’ official Twitter account, manager Terry Collins said he’s hopeful Murphy will return on Tuesday.

11:33 a.m. ET: The Mets have scored two runs or fewer in five straight games and eight out of their last nine, but they are about to get some help for their struggling offense.

No, I’m not talking about a trade, but Daniel Murphy is close to returning from the disabled list. Out since June 4 with a strained quad, Murphy went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI on Friday in his second minor league rehab game with High-A St. Lucie. He also played eight innings at third base.

According to Kieran Darcy of ESPN New York, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said yesterday that Murphy would be re-evaluated on Saturday morning, so it’s possible he could be activated as soon as today. If not, his return will come Sunday or early next week.

With David Wright’s status in limbo due to a back injury, Murphy will take over as the starting third baseman. The Mets are also expected to move Wilmer Flores over to second base and play Ruben Tejada at shortstop.

Murphy, 30, is batting .283/.335/.414 with four home runs and 29 RBI over 55 games this season.