Ted Lilly to begin minor league rehab assignment Sunday

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The Dodgers continue to be connected in trade rumors with Cubs right-hander Ryan Dempster, but they could get one of their own starters back from the disabled list in the near future.

According to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, Ted Lilly is slated to begin a minor league rehab assignment Sunday with High-A Rancho Cucamonga.

Lilly hasn’t pitched since May 23 due to left shoulder inflammation. The 36-year-old southpaw is expected to pitch two innings on Sunday and will likely need about two or three weeks to get properly stretched out to rejoin the Dodgers’ starting rotation.

Lilly didn’t make his season debut until April 14 due to a neck injury, but he had a 1.79 ERA across his first seven starts before he was knocked around for eight runs on nine hits and five walks over 3 1/3 innings against the Diamondbacks on May 23. The Dodgers are hoping they’ll get the good Lilly back soon.

Reds are the frontrunner for Nicholas Castellanos

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Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports that the Reds “have emerged as the frontrunner” to sign free agent outfielder Nicholas Castellanos. Morosi says the Reds and Castellanos “have made progress over the past several days.”

The Reds were going to have a lot of outfielders already 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. Senzel was an infielder before last year, of course, so he could move back to the dirt, perhaps. And, of course, the Reds could trade from their outfield surplus if, indeed, they end up with an outfield surplus.

Without question, however, Castellanos would be the big dog, at least offensively, in that setup. 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. If he were to sign to play half his season in hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark one can only imagine the damage he’d do.