Twins 'have intensified their pursuit of' Hudson

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Earlier this week I wondered why the Twins weren’t making a stronger push for Orlando Hudson, so it pleases me to see this report from Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi at FOXSports.com:

The Twins have intensified their pursuit of free-agent second baseman Orlando Hudson, one major league source told FOXSports.com on Thursday morning. … Hudson is asking for at least $6 million on a one-year deal, a separate source said. He is likely to agree to terms on a new contract this week.

Based on various reports recently it sounds like the Nationals are offering Hudson the most money, but he’d prefer to play for a better team if the salaries are somewhat close.
If all it takes to land Hudson is a one-year deal worth around $5 million the decision should be a no-brainer for the Twins, because right now they have Nick Punto starting at second base, Brendan Harris starting at third base, and no clear option to bat second in the lineup ahead of Joe Mauer. At that price and this late in the offseason Hudson is as close to a perfect fit as Minnesota is going to find.
UPDATE: MLB.com’s Bill Ladson just tweeted that “a baseball source” told him Hudson “will not play for the Nationals” and “most likely will play for the Twins.”
UPDATE #2: Not so fast, perhaps. Now both Buster Olney of ESPN.com and Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune report that Hudson is deciding between the Twins and … Indians. Everyone seems to agree that the Nationals are out of the mix.

Dallas Keuchel to return to Astros’ rotation on Friday

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Astros manager A.J. Hinch told the media, including MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart, that starter Dallas Keuchel will come off of the disabled list and rejoin the rotation on Friday against the Tigers. Keuchel has missed nearly two months with a neck injury.

Prior to landing on the DL, Keuchel was 9-0 with a 1.67 ERA and a 69/18 K/BB ratio over 75 2/3 innings. He seemed to be on his way to potentially win another Cy Young Award.

Hinch also noted that Collin McHugh will start on Saturday and Lance McCullers will start on Sunday.

Video: Ketel Marte hits an inside-the-park home run

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Braves starter Aaron Blair had a nightmarish bottom of the third inning on Wednesday afternoon against the Diamondbacks. He had just given up a run on a Daniel Descalso triple hit to center field that center fielder Ender Inciarte read poorly. In the following at-bat, Ketel Marte laced a curve ball to right field. Sean Rodriguez wasn’t able to get to it in time, so the ball bounced off the fence and caromed back towards the stands along the right field line. By the time Rodriguez was able to retrieve the ball, Marte was already on his way home and scored standing up.

The inside-the-park homer will certainly provide a boost to Marte’s stats. He entered Wednesday’s action batting .196/.255/.370 in 51 plate appearances.