The Chicago White Sox appear to be the frontrunners in getting a deal done to acquire infielder Kevin Youkilis from the Boston Red Sox, sources told ESPN.com.
The Red Sox have also had discussions with the Atlanta Braves, Arizona Diamondbacks, Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Dodgers about trading Youkilis.
Arizona is reportedly out of the running but Atlanta has scouted Youkilis more than once recently.
Boston manager Bobby Valentine said he talked with Youkilis Friday about decreasing his playing time. Youkilis is batting just .174 (8 for 46) with no home runs and 10 strikeouts in June.
"He doesn't necessarily totally agree with it and doesn't wake up in the morning and hope that's the case, but I think the professional person that Kevin is, he understands it," Valentine said. "Yes, I think he's fine."
Youkilis was out of the starting lineup for two straight games for the first time since coming off the disabled list May 22. Rookie third baseman Will Middlebrooks has recently been getting the bulk of playing time in place of Youkilis.
Valentine said he is "riding the hot hand," but that philosophy could change day to day.
Middlebrooks has 31 RBI in just 38 games since being promoted from the minors, the most by a Red Sox player in that span since Walt Dropo in 1949-50.
With a banged-up outfield, Valentine was able to play Middlebrooks at third base, Youkilis at first and move Adrian Gonzalez from first to right field. But outfielder Cody Ross has returned from the disabled list and Daniel Nava and Ryan Kalish are contributing, so Gonzalez (a three-time Gold Glove winner) is back at first base.
Outfielder Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury are also expected to return from the DL soon. Valentine prefers to keep Gonzalez at first base with a healthy outfield, meaning the manager has to decide each day between Youkilis and Middlebrooks.
--Injured Toronto Blue Jays closer Sergio Santos took a step forward in recovering from a right shoulder injury, but there is still no timetable for his return, MLB.com reported Saturday.
Santos has been out since April 21 and has had setbacks in coming back. However, he has begun another throwing program. He will eventually need to throw from 150 to 175 feet to build up arm strength before returning to the mound.
"The last two times he has thrown the ball on flat ground, he has felt very good," manager John Farrell said.
Santos has appeared in just six games this season.
He had a 3.55 ERA with 92 strikeouts and 29 walks in 63 1/3 innings for the Chicago White Sox last season, before coming to Toronto in an offseason trade.
--The Oakland A's recalled shortstop Brandon Hicks and right-hander Tyson Ross to the club and placed righty Bartolo Colon and outfielder Collin Cowgill on the disabled list, CSN Bay Area reported Saturday.
Cowgill injured his ankle Friday night against the San Francisco Giants trying to make a diving catch in the ninth inning.
Colon strained an oblique after pitching two innings against the San Diego Padres last Sunday. He played catch before Wednesday's game but manager Bob Melvin said Colon could possibly return before the All-Star break.
Hicks is batting .272 with 13 homers and 48 RBI in 65 games with Class AAA Sacramento. Ross has split time between Sacramento and Oakland this season.
--The Kansas City Royals called up left-handed pitcher Francisley Bueno from Class AAA Omaha and designated right-hander Roman Colon for assignment, MLB.com reported Saturday.
Bueno went 1-3 with a 2.85 ERA appeared in 25 games, striking out 38 batters in 41 innings pitched.
Colon is 0-0 with a 6.75 ERA in eight innings of relief since being called up to the Royals June 14.