Chris Denorfia may not be ready for Opening Day

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Chris Denorfia has yet to play a spring training game because of a lower back injury and manager Bud Black told Bill Center of the San Diego Union Tribune that the Padres are worried he won’t have enough to time be ready for Opening Day.

There is a little concern. He’s not progressing to the point where we know when he’s going to get into a game. It takes time to get game ready.

Denorfia is slated to be San Diego’s fourth outfielder, but figures to get a sizable amount of playing time because he can back up all three spots behind starters Cameron Maybin, Carlos Quentin, and Will Venable. If he starts the season on the disabled list 36-year-old Mark Kotsay could be pushed into more outfield action.

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.