Doug Fister won’t be ready to return from DL when eligible

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When the Tigers placed Doug Fister on the disabled list with a costochondral strain both Fister and the team trainer said they thought he’d avoid the month-long absence that was needed when he had the same injury earlier in the season.

That may prove accurate, but in the meantime Fister won’t be ready to return from the DL when eligible Wednesday. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s suffered any kind of setback, but it does suggest a month-long absence is well within the realm of possibility.

Jason Beck of MLB.com reports that Fister tested his strained side muscle by throwing Saturday, but the right-hander was sore Sunday and will give it another try later this week.

Because of an off day on the schedule this week the Tigers can basically just skip Fister’s normal turn in the rotation, but Drew Smyly and the “mushier and mushier” blister from hell could further complicate things for Detroit’s banged-up starting staff.

Astros officially announce the Michael Brantley signing

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The Astros officially announced their signing of outfielder Michael Brantley to a two-year, $32 million deal.

Brantley, 31, played a mostly full season last year for the first time since 2015. He hit .309/.364/.468 with 17 home runs, 76 RBI, 89 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases in 631 plate appearances. He made the AL All-Star squad for the third time in his career.

As previously reported, the Astros plan to rotate Brantley between left field, first base, and DH.

Merry Christmas, Mr. Brantley.