Stephen Strasburg hopes to begin throwing in January

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Stephen Strasburg updated his progress from Tommy John surgery during a conference call with reporters earlier today.

According to Ben Goessling of MASNSports.com, Strasburg said he has a follow-up with Dr. Lewis Yocum after Christmas and plans to begin throwing sometime in January before reporting to spring training along with the rest of the pitchers and catchers.

“They’re not going to say I’m ahead of schedule, because they don’t want to get my hopes up. Physically, I feel great,” Strasburg said. “They say I’m on track. I don’t have an exact timeline yet. I’m just taking it week by week and getting stronger every single day.”

The 22-year-old right-hander posted a 2.91 ERA and 92/17 K/BB ratio over his first 12 major league starts before undergoing Tommy John surgery in the first week of September. There’s still an outside chance he could pitch before the end of the 2011 season, but don’t look for the Nationals to push him too soon.

Report: Mets close to a deal with Jose Bautista

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SNY’s Andy Martino reports that the Mets are close to a deal with free agent Jose Bautista. This doesn’t come as a surprise, as the Mets were rumored to be interested in him on Monday, a day after the Braves released him.

Bautista, 37, struggled to a .593 OPS in 40 plate appearances with the Braves. He’s coming off of his worst season as a regular, as he hit .203 in 157 games last year with the Blue Jays.

Bautista mostly played in the outfield for the Jays, but played third base for the Braves. The Mets need depth at both third base and in the outfield due to injuries to Todd Frazier, Yoenis Cespedes, and Juan Lagares.

It will be interesting to see who loses their roster spot to accomodate Bautista. I suggested earlier it should be Jose Reyes.