Potent quotables: Lincecum wants starting nod

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It would mean a lot — the hard
work paid off. If I do happen to start, it will make up for the fact I
didn’t even make it to the field last year.”

– Tim Lincecum, who missed last year’s All-Star game due to illness, would love to start for the National League this year.
He extended his career-best scoreless streak to 23 innings in a 9-0 win
over the Astros on Saturday. The All-Star rosters will be announced
today at 1 p.m. ET.

“Johnny and I have a great
relationship. I’m glad he called and apologized. I’ve always respected
his opinion. But he’s not in here on a day-to-day basis, so he can’t
really know what’s going on.

– David Wright acknowledges John Franco’s apology. The former Mets closer questioned Wright’s leadership in an interview with Sirius XM last week.

“Give the young man a chance. I know
he’s struggled, but let’s give him a chance. He’s done it in the past,
and there’s no reason he can’t get it done now. Let’s not look at this
every at-bat, every game. Let’s sit back and watch this and see what
happens.”

– Lou Pinella has some supportive words for Alfonso Soriano.
Moved to sixth in the batting order, Soriano is hitless over his last
four games to drop his batting average to a season-low .223.

“We just want him right when he comes
back. As long as he feels good, that’s all that matters. It’s hard to
predict. We just gotta wait and see how he’s doing. If that means a
couple of extra days, it’s another couple of days.”

– Ron Washington comments on Josh Hamilton’s rehab.
He is 2-for-20 in a four-game rehab stint and could join the Rangers
this week. The slugger underwent successful surgery on a torn abdominal
muscle on June 9.

“You hate to put labels on guys, but he has a chance to be someone very special.”

– David Eckstein thinks rookie shortstop Everth Cabrera has the goods.
The 22-year-old was 2-for-3 with three RBI, including a go-ahead RBI
single, in a 7-4 win over the Dodgers on Saturday. Cabrera is batting
.306 with eight RBI, four stolen bases and 14 runs scored in his first
62 major-league at bats. He was a Rule 5 selection from the Rockies
organization in December.

Angels ink Javy Guerra to minor league deal

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Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with right-handed reliever Javy Guerra. The deal includes an invitation to major league spring training.

Guerra was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball last July after testing positive for a drug of abuse. That suspension is now over, though Guerra is probably ticketed for the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate to begin the 2016 season.

The 30-year-old made just three major league appearances in 2015 for the White Sox before getting outrighted off Chicago’s 40-man roster. He does own a 2.87 ERA in 150 1/3 career innings, but it has come with bouts of inconsistency and unreliability.

Maybe he can get everything going in the right direction with Anaheim.

Braves sign reliever Carlos Torres

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As first reported by Bill Shanks of Fox Sports 1670, the Braves have signed right-handed reliever Carlos Torres to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Torres was waived by the Mets in January, somewhat surprisingly, and elected to become a free agent. The 33-year-old ultimately chose Atlanta, where he should have a good shot at an Opening Day roster out of spring training with the rapidly-rebuilding Braves.

Torres posted an ugly 4.68 ERA in 57 2/3 innings last season for the Mets, but he registered a gorgeous 3.06 ERA and 96 strikeouts across 97 innings in 2014.

If he gets off to a good start in 2016, he could become valuable trade bait.

Blue Jays will have a closer competition this spring

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Roberto Osuna became the youngest pitcher to ever play for the Blue Jays last season at age 20 and he rose to the challenge with a 2.58 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 75/16 K/BB ratio in 69 2/3 frames. Osuna eventually took over as Toronto’s closer, earning 20 regular-season saves and one in the American League Division Series — a five-out effort in Game 5 to close out the visiting Rangers.

But the Jays upgraded the back end of their bullpen this winter, acquiring Drew Storen from the Nationals in early January for speedy outfielder Ben Revere. Jesse Chavez was also brought to Toronto in a trade with the A’s.

Storen has more experience at closer than Osuna, and Storen struggled when the Nationals tried to put him in a setup role. Storen, in his final year of salary arbitration, also gets paid much more. He’s probably going to enter spring training as the favorite for the Jays’ ninth-inning gig, but there will be a competition …

Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins told Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca on Wednesday that he doesn’t expect the team to choose between Osuna or Storen until midway through spring training, if not later.

There’s been talk of making Osuna a starter, so add that wrinkle.

Storen, 28, boasts 95 career major league saves.

Orioles plotting late-offseason push? Gallardo, Fowler, Alvarez, Bruce in consideration

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Baltimore’s front office appears to be lining up a run of potential roster additions leading into the beginning of spring training.

We’ve already passed along the reports suggesting they are close to a three-year deal with free agent starter Yovani Gallardo, but now FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler could be next on the Orioles’ target list. It they get those two deals done, the O’s could then chase free agent slugger Pedro Alvarez.

Rosenthal says the Orioles are even eyeing Jay Bruce of the Reds, though the FOX reporter hears the O’s might not have the prospects to pull off that kind of trade.

The focus for the Orioles out of the gate this winter was re-signing Matt Wieters and Chris Davis. Wieters accepted his one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer in November and Davis was locked up to a seven-year, $161 million contract in mid-January.

Now the O’s are spending a little leftover cash on late-offseason additions to improve their position in what should be a tight 2016 American League East race.