Buster Posey aiming to take batting practice and run the bases in early February

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Time for another update on Buster Posey’s recovery from the broken leg that ended his sophomore season on May 25.

Chris Haft of MLB.com reports that Posey has now progressed to 30- and 60-yard sprints along with additional agility drills and “mild distance running.”

Posey has yet to go through live batting practice and isn’t yet cleared to run the bases, but Giants trainer Dave Groeschner said that the former Rookie of the Year will advance to baseball activities by early next month, adding: “For January 9 he’s doing pretty well.”

Barring any major setbacks Posey seems likely to be ready for Opening Day, but that’s certainly far from guaranteed. San Francisco re-signed Eli Whiteside to a minor-league contract and he’ll compete with Hector Sanchez and Chris Stewart to back up (and potentially fill in for) Posey.

Reds sign Nicholas Castellanos to a four-year deal

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The Cincinnati Reds have signed outfielder Nicholas Castellanos to a four-year deal worth $64 million. The contract includes opt-outs after both 2020 and 2021, which is certainly good for Castellanos, allowing him to go back out on the market if he has a big year. Odd that the Reds would agree to that, but on an annual basis it’s kind of a bargain for them so you figure that has something to do with it.

With Castellanos in the fold the Reds are going to have a lot of outfielders when they hit Goodyear, Arizona in a couple of weeks, with newcomer Shogo Akiyama, Jesse Winkler, Nick Senzel, Aristides Aquino, Travis Jankowski, Scott Schebler, and Rule 5 draftee Mark Payton already on the roster. Senzel was an infielder before last year, of course, so he could move back to the dirt, perhaps taking over short from Freddy Galvis, who could be dealt. Alternatively, the Reds could trade from their newfound outfield surplus.

Castellanos, however, will have left field to himself. While he’s shaky at best with the glove, he had a breakout year at the plate in 2019, hitting .289/.337/.525 overall (OPS+ 121), but slugging at a blistering .321/.356/.646 pace (OPS+ 151) after being traded from the Tigers to the Cubs. In Chicago — rescued from cavernous Comerica Park — his big doubles power turned into big homer power.

Now that he’ll be playing in hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark one can only imagine the damage he’d do.