Delmon Young playing in extended spring training, nears rehab assignment

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Delmon Young has been playing extended spring training games and could be cleared to begin a minor-league rehab assignment as soon as this weekend, according to Adam Berry of MLB.com.

Young, who normally does anything he can to avoid giving useful quotes to anyone, actually talked to Berry a little bit about his status coming back from ankle surgery:

I felt fine, glad to get back out there. It’s extended [spring camp] and everything, but it’s fun. It brings a lot more out of you, even though you’re not using to playing in 1 o’clock games every day outside spring training.

General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. was in attendance watching Young, but this time he was the one who declined to give any comments. Either way, Young is seemingly pretty close to joining the Phillies’ lineup and he’ll be playing right field whenever that happens, which will mean reduced playing time for Laynce Nix and John Mayberry.

Cardinals extend José Martínez through 2020

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First baseman/outfielder José Martínez agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Cardinals on Saturday, per a team announcement. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that Martínez will receive $3.25 million in the deal plus incentives if he earns a more stable place within the starting lineup.

Martínez, 30, played 887 games in the minors before making his major-league debut with the Cardinals at the tail end of the 2016 season. The veteran first baseman has been nothing but productive in the three years since his debut, however, and turned in a career-best performance in 2018 after slashing .305/.364/.457 with 17 home runs, an .821 OPS, and 2.3 fWAR through 590 plate appearances. While he brings some positional flexibility to the table, he’ll be forced to compete against Dexter Fowler and Tyler O'Neill for a full-time gig in right field this year, as Paul Goldschmidt currently has a lock on first base.

According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the extension wasn’t solely precipitated by Martínez’s productivity in the majors, but by a competing offer from an unnamed Japanese team over the offseason. Goold adds that Martínez would have earned “significantly more than he would in the majors” had the club sold his rights. In the end, they ultimately elected to ink him to a more lucrative deal themselves. He’ll be eligible for arbitration in 2020.