Matt Kemp cleared for more baseball activities

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Matt Kemp will almost certainly miss the start of the regular season as he works his way back from left ankle surgery, but he’s making some tangible progress.

According to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, Kemp will be allowed to do more baseball drills after an MRI yesterday came back favorable. It’s possible that he’ll start doing some running, but Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said that he’s at “Step Five” of a seven-step rehab and that there’s still no clear timetable for his return.

The Dodgers have the luxury of quality depth in their outfield, so there’s no need for Kemp to rush things for Opening Day. As of now, Yasiel Puig, Andre Ethier, and Carl Crawford project to begin the year as regulars.

UPDATE: More good news from Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, who reports that Kemp tested his ankle by running today.

Free agent slugger José Abreu signs 3-year, $58.5M deal with Astros

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
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HOUSTON — Jose Abreu and the World Series champion Astros agreed to a three-year, $58.5 million contract, adding another powerful bat to Houston’s lineup.

Abreu, the 2020 AL MVP, gets $19.5 million in each of the next three seasons.

He spent his first nine major league seasons with the Chicago White Sox. The first baseman became a free agent after batting .304 with 15 home runs, 75 RBIs and an .824 OPS this year.

With the Astros, he replaces Yuli Gurriel at first base in a batting order that also features All-Star sluggers Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker.

Gurriel became a free agent after Houston defeated the Philadelphia Phillies this month for its second World Series championship.

The 35-year-old Abreu becomes the biggest free agent to switch teams so far this offseason. Born in Cuba, the three-time All-Star and 2014 AL Rookie of the Year is a .292 career hitter in the majors with 243 homers, 863 RBIs and an .860 OPS.

The Astros announced the signing. Abreu was scheduled to be introduced in a news conference at Minute Maid Park.

He would get a $200,000 for winning an MVP award, $175,000 for finishing second in the voting, $150,000 for third, $125,000 for fourth and $100,000 for fifth. Abreu also would get $100,000 for earning World Series MVP and $75,000 for League Championship Series MVP, $75,000 for making the All-Star team and $75,000 for winning a Gold Glove or a Silver Slugger.

Abreu gets a hotel suite on road trips and the right to buy a luxury suite for all Astros home games.