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Gregory Santos back on mound for the Mariners. Their new reliever may not be ready for season opener

Newly acquired Seattle Mariners reliever Gregory Santos threw a light bullpen session Friday, his first since experiencing right lat soreness after throwing off a mound at the the start of spring training three weeks ago.

Jerry Dipoto, the team's president of baseball operations, has indicated that Santos won't be ready for opening day in three weeks but should pitch in April. Santos had been playing catch the past week.

The Mariners got the hard-throwing 24-year-old Dominican from the White Sox in a trade at the beginning of February. Santos had a 3.39 ERA with five saves in 60 appearances last year in his rookie season with Chicago. He pitched in five games combined the previous two seasons for San Francisco.

LOWE STRAIN

Gold Glove first baseman Nathaniel Lowe is the latest starting infielder for the World Series champion Texas Rangers to be sidelined because of injury.

Manager Bruce Bochy said Lowe is dealing with a right oblique strain. The initial timeline for recovery is three to four weeks, and the March 28 opener is less than three weeks away. Lowe, who avoided arbitration with a $7.5 million deal, has played in all but 11 games for the Rangers over the past three seasons.

World Series MVP shortstop Corey Seager had sports hernia surgery Jan. 30, and is expected to miss most of spring training, though there is hope that he could play in Arizona before the end of camp.

All-Star third baseman Josh Jung strained his left calf at the start of camp. He has resumed baseball activity, but hasn't played in any Cactus League games.

BANGED-UP NOOTBAAR

St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Lars Nootbaar has two nondisplaced rib fractures from falling into a wall when trying to make a twisting, turning catch in a spring training game. It is unclear whether he will be ready for the season opener March 28.

John Mozeliak, the team’s president of baseball operations, said Friday that scans revealed the fractures. Nootbaar, the expected starting left fielder, has been sidelined since getting hurt last Saturday.

“The concern is basically he has to get to a point where he’s pain free. Then he also has to get to the point where, which could take anywhere from 10 to 14 days, to where he can’t have any traumatic injury to that area,” Mozeliak said. “Over the course of 10 to 14 days, we'll just monitor and see where he's out. At that point, we'll know if it's more of a concern for opening day or not.”

Mozeliak said Nootbaar can swing as tolerable, but won't be in the field for the next two weeks “because you don't want him diving.”

O CANADA! VOTTO TO JAYS

Joey Votto is hoping for another big league season, this time with his hometown team in Canada.

The 40-year-old first baseman said he has agreed to a minor league deal with the Toronto Blue Jays, though there was no immediate announcement from the team. Votto became a free agent last fall after the end of a $251.5 million, 12-year contract with the Reds, the 2010 NL MVP's only team over 17 major league seasons. Cincinnati declined his $20 million option for 2024.

“I am excited about the opportunity to work my way back to the Major Leagues. It’s even sweeter to attempt this while wearing the uniform of my hometown team, the Toronto Blue Jays,” Votto wrote Friday on X.

YOUNG YANKEES

Yankees infielder Oswald Peraza was set for a second round of MRI testing Friday, this time with a dye contrast, while trying to determine what is causing right shoulder discomfort.

Peraza had an initial MRI on Thursday. The 23-year-old Peraza hit .191 with two homers and 14 RBIs in 52 games last season, when had starts at second base, shortstop and third base.

There was encouraging news Friday on another young Yankees prospect, though switch-hitting center fielder Jasson Domínguez still has several months left in his recovery from Tommy John surgery.

Domínguez is scheduled to start taking some left-handed swings off a tee on Monday. The 21-year-old slugger has already been swinging right-handed for two weeks, and is throwing at 75 feet.

Domínguez made his big league debut with four homers in 31 at-bats over eight games last September before surgery on his right elbow, with an anticipated recovery time of nine-to-10 months.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb