Rays may be looking to trade infielder Reid Brignac

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According to beat writer Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, there was “some chatter last week” around the Rays organization that a trade could be in the works involving utility infielder Reid Brignac.

Brignac is a steady defender and is capable of playing all around the diamond, but he batted just .095 with a .136 on-base percentage in 22 plate appearances last season for the Rays and owns a weak .227/.268/.317 career slash line in the majors.

Brignac is only 27 years old but probably wouldn’t fetch much of a return package.

The Rays are expected to start Yunel Escobar at shortstop this year and Kelly Johnson at second.

Shohei Ohtani medically cleared to begin a throwing progression

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The Angels released a medical update on P/DH Shohei Ohtani Thursday evening. Ohtani was reevaluated by Dr. Steve Yoon at the Kerlan Jobe Institute. The right-hander’s sprained UCL showed improved healing and, as a result, he has been cleared to begin a throwing progression.

Ohtani, 24, was diagnosed with a Grade 2 sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow after his June 6 start against the Royals and hasn’t pitched since, though he has been in the lineup as a hitter since July 3. It was initially believed he would undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery. Then the thought was that Ohtani wouldn’t pitch again for the rest of the season, but this update suggests a possibility he could return to the mound before the season is over.

In nine starts, Ohtani put together a 3.10 ERA with a 61/20 K/BB ratio in 49 1/3 innings. As a hitter, he batted .283/.365/.522 with seven home runs and 22 RBI in 157 plate appearances.