Red Sox activate Dustin Pedroia from the disabled list

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Dustin Pedroia has been activated from the disabled list and will bat second and play second base when the Red Sox begin the second half of the season tonight against the Angels.

Pedroia has been sidelined since June 24 with a left hamstring strain, but he didn’t end up needing a minor league rehab assignment. All-Star Brock Holt filled in at second base with Pedroia out of the lineup, but now he’ll return to a utility role. He’s not in the lineup for tonight’s game.

Injuries hindered Pedroia’s production in 2013 and 2014, but the 31-year-old was batting .306/.367/.452 with nine home runs and 33 RBI over 69 games prior to landing on the disabled list. The Red Sox begin the second half with a 42-47 record, 6 1/2 games behind the Yankees in the American League East. They are running out of time to make something out of their season, but having a healthy Pedroia back in the lineup helps their chances.

Yasiel Puig is still a free agent

Yasiel Puig
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Around this time last year, the ink was drying on Manny Machado‘s 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres and Bryce Harper was about to put the finishing touches on his 13-year, $330 million deal with the Phillies. We had gotten used to premier free agents hanging out in limbo until late February and even into March. This past offseason, however, was a return to normal. The top three free agents — Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, and Stephen Strasburg — all signed in December. Once the big names are off the board, the lesser free agents subsequently tend to find homes. There were a handful of noteworthy signings in January, but pretty much everyone was off the board when February began.

There are a handful of free agents remaining as I write this, with one name really sticking out: Yasiel Puig. Last season, between the Reds and Indians, Puig hit .267/.327/.458 with 24 home runs, 84 RBI, 76 runs scored, and 19 stolen bases in 611 plate appearances. He was one of only seven players in the league last year to hit at least 24 home runs and swipe at least 19 bases. While Puig has had some problems over the years, he still possesses a rare blend of power and speed that would seem useful.

The Marlins, White Sox, and Rockies have been linked to Puig this offseason. His market has been otherwise quiet since he became a free agent. The Athletic’s Jim Bowden suggests Puig will have to settle for a “pillow contract” — a one-year deal with which Puig reestablishes his market value, aiming to pursue a multi-year deal the following offseason. Along with the aforementioned three teams, Bowden suggests the Mariners, Indians, Pirates, Giants, Red Sox, and Cardinals as other teams that could potentially fit with Puig, which is not to be confused with teams having expressed interest in his services.