Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado is making some headway towards a return to the club. Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reports that Arenado hit off a tee on Thursday afternoon and will take batting practice on Friday. If all goes well, he could begin a rehab assignment soon, perhaps within a week.
Arenado has been on the disabled list since May 24, when he suffered a left mallet finger fracture on a head-first slide in a game the previous night. Given that the estimated recovery period is between six to eight weeks, Arenado starting a rehab assignment soon could mean he misses only the minimum amount of time.
Arenado was having a great season prior to the injury, slashing .305/.333/.489 with six home runs and 28 RBI in 204 plate appearances. The Rockies could use him back, as they’ve gone 9-21 in the time since.
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.