Red Sox “mostly focused on” Dempster, Sanchez, Lohse, Marcum, Liriano

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As the Red Sox continue to look for rotation help Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com reports that they’re “mostly focused on” Anibal Sanchez, Ryan Dempster, Kyle Lohse, Shaun Marcum, and Francisco Liriano.

McAdam calls Sanchez “something of a longshot” because the Red Sox probably won’t want to pay his asking price and Dempster reportedly already turned down Boston’s two-year, $25 million offer, but it’s possible they could go three years to get him.

For now the Red Sox have Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, and Felix Doubront in the rotation, with John Lackey likely as well depending on how he returns from Tommy John elbow surgery and Franklin Morales around as a fifth option.

UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com says the Red Sox are in “serious negotiations” with Dempster right now.

Cardinals shut down Carlos Martínez for two weeks due to shoulder issue

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MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosh reports that the Cardinals are shutting down pitcher Carlos Martínez from throwing for two weeks because his shoulder strength isn’t where it should have been at this point. Langosch added that an MRI showed no structural damage in Martínez’s right shoulder.

Interestingly, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak didn’t sound too happy with Martínez offseason training regimen. Per Mark Saxon of The Athletic, Mozeliak said, “Obviously, there’s a history with Carlos’ shoulder and it would be probably in everybody’s best interest if he maintained a constant or perpetual approach to that program.”

Martínez, 27, battled oblique and shoulder injuries last year. He accrued just 118 2/3 innings, making just 18 starts. He was moved to the bullpen when he returned from the disabled list in August and finished out the season in that role. Still, Martínez managed a 3.11 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 60 walks.

Langosch reported last week that the Cardinals were considering using Martínez in relief again in 2019. The latest news may push the Cardinals to indeed use Martínez out of the bullpen once again. He will be reevaluated in early March, but there is a chance he won’t be ready for Opening Day.