Adrian Gonzalez hopes to make spring debut next week

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Adrian Gonzalez took live batting practice earlier today for the second time in the past three days and told Maureen Mullen of CSNNE.com that he hopes to make his spring debut sometime next week.

“[Wednesday] I’ll hit again on the field if everything feels good,” he said. “And see how it responds hitting back-to-back days. Right now, the plan is to take it easy on Thursday. I don’t think I’m going to be off, but I’m going to back off and give it a rest so I can start planning out for some kind of game action next week sometime — maybe even earlier, I don’t know. Maybe next week some time.”

And he’s chomping at the bit to get started.

Instead of testing his surgically-repaired shoulder by taking some swings in a “B” game, Gonzalez told Mullen that he plans to move directly from live batting practice to exhibition action. Look out, Grapefruit League hurlers.

The 28-year-old first baseman batted .298/.393/.511 with 31 homers and 101 RBI last season and should thrive calling the hitter-friendly Fenway Park home.

Padres may have more interest in Dallas Keuchel than Bryce Harper

Dallas Keuchel
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An interesting tidbit today from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who noted that ongoing talks between agent Scott Boras and the Padres have focused more on starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel than slugger Bryce Harper. Earlier this week, there were conflicting reports on the Padres’ level of interest in Harper — MLB Network’s Jon Heyman heard the club had not ruled out another big signing after getting Manny Machado, while Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune talked to multiple sources who believed otherwise — but any agreement between the two is looking unlikelier by the day.

As for Keuchel, Rosenthal cautions that a potential deal is still a “longshot,” especially as the team has other, cheaper options in mind. The 31-year-old southpaw turned down a qualifying offer from the Astros last year and is likely angling for something north of the five-year, $90 million contract extension he rejected from the club in 2016. He’s coming off of another solid performance in Houston, where he went 12-11 in 34 starts with a 3.74 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 6.7 SO/9, and 3.6 fWAR through 204 2/3 innings in 2018.

While Keuchel has failed to garner substantial interest around the league this offseason, Heyman points out that the Phillies are looking to establish themselves as frontrunners for the lefty — and they’re far less likely to have hang-ups about his asking price, too.