Josh Hamilton on track to begin rehab assignment Wednesday

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Remember how I mentioned over the weekend that the Rangers’ entire Opening Day outfield was on the disabled list? Well, it sounds like they’re making some progress on the health front.

Nelson Cruz played in his second minor league rehab game with Double-A Frisco earlier today while the Associated Press reports that Josh Hamilton could join him Wednesday.

Hamilton took early batting practice today in Chicago before returning to Texas to be reevaluated by team physician Dr. Keith Meister. If cleared for action, he will play two games with Double-A Frisco before joining Triple-A Round Rock for three games this weekend.

Hamilton has been sidelined since fracturing a bone in his upper right arm on a slide into home plate on April 12. He was batting .333/.409/.462 with an .871 OPS over his first 44 at-bats prior to the injury.

Report: Martinez, Nationals agree to contract extension

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WASHINGTON — Manager Dave Martinez and the Washington Nationals have agreed to work out a contract extension that will keep him in charge of the club beyond next season, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

The person confirmed the news to The Associated Press on Friday on condition of anonymity because no official announcement had been made.

Martinez led the Nationals to the franchise’s first World Series championship in 2019, his second season as the team’s skipper.

When he initially was hired, Martinez signed a three-year deal with a club option for 2021 that had not yet been picked up by the Nationals.

After a title defense slowed by injuries and inconsistency during a 60-game season delayed and shortened by the coronavirus pandemic, Washington was 23-34 and last in the NL East before facing the New York Mets on Friday night.

It’s the second game of a season-ending four-game series at Nationals Park.

Martinez was sporting his World Series ring on his right hand when he spoke to reporters via a video chat before word emerged Friday afternoon of a change to his contract.

“The coaching staff and myself decided to wear it for the last week of the season, so we’ve been wearing it this whole week. It’s kind of cool,” Martinez said about his ring. “Come Sunday, it goes off and goes back in its little shiny box. But it’s kind of nice to look down and look at it.”

Asked earlier in the week whether he would like his up-in-the-air contract status resolved before the season ends, Martinez said his agent and Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo had been discussing the matter.

“I love it here. I don’t see myself going anywhere else,” Martinez said then. “I appreciate the family. I appreciate this organization. We’ve built a special relationship here, so I hope I get a chance to stay for many, many years.”

Then he paused for five seconds before adding: “The sooner, the better, though.”