Dodgers to Ron Belliard: be slim, or be gone

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About that Ron Belliard deal?Yes, it’s for $825,000, and yes, the Dodgers are likely counting on Belliard to win the second base job, but according to Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times, it’s not guaranteed.  But it can be:  All Belliard has to do is to weigh in at 209 or less at some point during spring training.

Why 209? Because that’s what the Dodgers say he weighed at the end of last year when he was really effective.  If that’s what he weighed a mere three months ago, it seems fair enough to me that he be expected to get there sometime within the next two months.

What would be unfair? Expecting him to weigh 180, which is what Baseball-Reference, the Nats’ media guide from last year and presumably his driver’s license and all of his baseball cards say.  I’m guessing he hasn’t been within donut-sniffing distance of 180 since Clinton’s first term.

Carlos Martínez to pitch out of bullpen upon return from injured list

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Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said pitcher Carlos Martínez will work out of the bullpen when he returns from the injured list, The Athletic’s Mark Saxon reports. Shildt noted that the decision is based on Martínez’s needs rather than the team’s needs, which suggests he may not yet have the strength to pitch as a starter.

Martínez, 27, opened the season on the injured list due to a right rotator cuff strain. The right-hander was also injured last year, battling lat and oblique injuries. He will go to extended spring training and likely begin a minor league rehab assignment next week. Based on that time frame, Martínez should be activated around mid-May.

Last year, Martínez made 18 starts and 15 relief appearances, posting a 3.11 ERA with five saves and a 117/60 K/BB ratio across 118 2/3 innings. It is unclear what role(s) Martínez will have in the bullpen, but he could eventually help set up for closer Jordan Hicks.