Jacoby Ellsbury, David Ortiz closer to returning for Red Sox

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It looks like the banged-up Boston offense will soon get a boost.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona said Jacoby Ellsbury, who is out for a third straight game tonight, likely will return to center field on Tuesday.

The Boston Herald’s Scott Lauber also reports that David Ortiz will take batting practice and then have his heel examined to see if he permanently take the walking boot off his injured right foot.  He won’t return until Wednesday at the earliest and perhaps not until the weekend.

Finally, J.D. Drew, who last played July 20 before going on the DL with a left shoulder impingement, will begin his rehab assignment Friday with an eye towards a Sept. 1 return.

Unlike the other two, Drew won’t be welcomed back with an everyday job awaiting him.  However, with Josh Reddick slumping, Drew might be able to stake a claim to a piece of the right-field job if he impresses in the minors.  Reddick is hitting .226/.281/.358 with two homers and four RBI in 53 at-bats this month.

Free agent slugger José Abreu signs 3-year, $58.5M deal with Astros

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
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HOUSTON — Jose Abreu and the World Series champion Astros agreed to a three-year, $58.5 million contract, adding another powerful bat to Houston’s lineup.

Abreu, the 2020 AL MVP, gets $19.5 million in each of the next three seasons.

He spent his first nine major league seasons with the Chicago White Sox. The first baseman became a free agent after batting .304 with 15 home runs, 75 RBIs and an .824 OPS this year.

With the Astros, he replaces Yuli Gurriel at first base in a batting order that also features All-Star sluggers Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker.

Gurriel became a free agent after Houston defeated the Philadelphia Phillies this month for its second World Series championship.

The 35-year-old Abreu becomes the biggest free agent to switch teams so far this offseason. Born in Cuba, the three-time All-Star and 2014 AL Rookie of the Year is a .292 career hitter in the majors with 243 homers, 863 RBIs and an .860 OPS.

The Astros announced the signing. Abreu was scheduled to be introduced in a news conference at Minute Maid Park.

He would get a $200,000 for winning an MVP award, $175,000 for finishing second in the voting, $150,000 for third, $125,000 for fourth and $100,000 for fifth. Abreu also would get $100,000 for earning World Series MVP and $75,000 for League Championship Series MVP, $75,000 for making the All-Star team and $75,000 for winning a Gold Glove or a Silver Slugger.

Abreu gets a hotel suite on road trips and the right to buy a luxury suite for all Astros home games.