Alex Gordon ready to begin rehab assignment

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On the disabled list with a broken right thumb suffered early in spring training, Alex Gordon is now scheduled to begin a minor-league rehab assignment Thursday at Single-A.
Gordon is eligible to return from the disabled list Saturday, but MLB.com’s Dick Kaegel reports that he won’t be ready quite that soon. Willie Bloomquist filled in for Gordon at third base yesterday, but Alberto Callaspo is expected to be the primary replacement assuming he recovers from an oblique injury of his own.
Getting back into the lineup soon is crucial for Gordon, because this could be a make-or-break year for the former No. 2 overall pick. He’s battled injuries while hitting just .250 with a .331 on-base percentage and .415 slugging percentage through three seasons in the majors and at this point the Royals would probably be thrilled if the one-time elite prospect simply developed into a solid regular.

The Orioles are “moving aggressively” to trade Manny Machado

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Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Orioles “are moving aggressively on Manny Machado trade talks and now believe they can trade him by the end of the week.” There are reportedly “strong offers” for Machado from both the White Sox, per Ken Rosenthal, and the Cardinals, per Nightengale. The Giants, Red Sox, Phillies, and Yankees are also reportedly involved in talks, though it does seem unlikely that the O’s would trade Machado to a division rival.

Machado, 25, is a guy around which a team could build a franchise. The Orioles, however, seem resigned to the notion that they will not be able to sign him to a long term contract once he hits free agency a year from now. If they do deal him, it would not be terribly shocking to see the O’s just go all-in with a full rebuild, putting relievers Brad Brach and Zach Britton and outfielder Adam Jones on the market, given that they too can become free agents following the 2018 season.

Machado had a down 2017, hitting .259/.310/.471, but still hit 33 homers and drove in 95 runs. In the two years prior he posted OPSs of .876 and .861. As such, the price for a team to acquire him will be high, even if he’s entering his walk year.