Royals first base prospect Balbino Fuenmayor — one of the more intriguing candidates to be selected in the upcoming Rule 5 Draft — is progressing very well in his recovery from a torn ACL this past summer, as recently noted by his agents at True Gravity Sports. Fuenmayor underwent surgery to repair the ligament on Aug. 3 but is running multiple times per week at present and is on track to begin baseball activities in early January. Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper recently listed Fuenmayor as one of the most plausible Rule 5 targets. The slugger, who was out of affiliated baseball at the age of 23 after receiving a huge bonus from the Blue Jays as a 16-year-old, reestablished himself on the independent circuit and returned to minor league ball in dominant fashion this past season, hitting .358/.384/.589 with 17 homers in 89 games before suffering his injury.
A few more items pertaining to the AL Central…
- The Indians are currently showing the most interest in outfielder Shane Victorino, sources tell Rob Bradford of WEEI.com (Twitter link). Cleveland was known to be on the hunt for outfielders even before Michael Brantley underwent shoulder surgery that will sideline him into next season, but that injury likely increased the team’s urgency to add some outfield help. Cleveland, as Bradford points out, had interest in Victorino before he signed in Boston and even offered him a four-year contract. Victorino, though, took three years to head to the Red Sox instead.
- The trades to acquire Francisco Rodriguez and Cameron Maybin earlier this month allowed the Tigers to sign Jordan Zimmermann, writes MLive.com’s James Schmehl. Filling a pair of holes without making lavish financial commitments allowed the Tigers to spend a more considerable sum than most had anticipated on a free-agent starter. Zimmermann said at today’s press conference that he was the second or third choice for a number of teams to whom he and agent Mark Pieper of Relativity Sports spoke, but the Tigers had him atop their list and wanted to sign quickly, which appealed to him (via Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post, on Twitter).
- Byung-ho Park arrived in Minneapolis today, reports Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and his agent, Alan Nero of Octagon, is expected to arrive in the next day or so to finalize a contract with the Twins. Park said he’s spoken to countrymen Shin-Soo Choo and Hyun-jin Ryu as well as close friend Jung Ho Kang about the transition to Major League Baseball, with each encouraging him that he will adapt to the new league well. Park told Miller, via interpreter, that his goal is to remain in Major League Baseball for the rest of his career. Miller notes that Park does speak some English and is working on learning more as he prepares for the next phase of his career.