Cuban defector Gerardo Concepcion declared a free agent

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UPDATE: Rojas reports that Concepcion has now officially been declared a free agent, with the Yankees, Rangers, Phillies, Cubs, and White Sox showing the most interest.

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Cuban defector Gerardo Concepcion has established residency in Mexico and the 18-year-old left-hander is close to being declared a free agent by MLB, according to agent Jaime Torres.

Torres told Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes that Concepcion will soon be cleared to negotiate with teams after going 10-3 with a 3.36 ERA to win the Rookie of the Year award in Cuba.

He defected in June when the Cuban team was in the Netherlands for a tournament, with Rojas noting that Aroldis Chapman defected at the same tournament in 2009 before signing a $30 million deal with the Reds.

Last week Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune wrote that Concepcion “is considered a finesse pitcher but has succeeded with his command,” suggesting that he won’t be in line for a huge, Chapman-like deal.

Red Sox to activate Dustin Pedroia from disabled list on Friday

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Manager Alex Cora said that second baseman Dustin Pedroia will be activated from the disabled list on Friday, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports.

Pedroia, 34, had cartilage restoration surgery on his left knee in late October. He played in only 105 games last season, batting .293/.369/.392 with seven home runs and 62 RBI in 463 plate appearances. His offensive stats were his worst since an abnormally-bad 2014 campaign.

The 34-15 Red Sox have baseball’s best record. Eduardo Nunez has mostly been handling second base in Pedroia’s place, hitting a disappointing .243/.261/.361 in 177 trips to the plate. He has also, by most metrics, played subpar defense at the position, so getting Pedroia back will be a boon.