Grady Sizemore pulled with left knee contusion

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Indians center fielder Grady Sizemore was lifted from Saturday’s game in the fifth inning with a left knee contusion, reports MLB.com’s Jeff Seidel.  He suffered the injury on a slide into second base at the end of the fourth and was replaced by Trevor Crowe.

Crowe is 3-for-6 with a home run and two RBI since being called up from Triple-A Columbus on Saturday.  He may be asked to play the next several games in center.

Sizemore could probably use some rest, no matter how severe his injury proves to be.  He’s batting a disappointing .211 in 128 at-bats this year with a .271 on-base percentage and zero home runs.  The Indians are 17-20 this season, seven games back of the Tigers in the American League Central standings.

Report: Phillies interested in Manny Machado; Orioles have done homework on Phillies’ minor league system

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Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will become a free agent after the 2018 season and there hasn’t been much in the way of progress on a contract extension between the two sides. It seems as if Machado will test the open market next offseason.

The Phillies, currently with relatively minuscule obligations for the 2018 season and beyond, are expected to be big players for Machado, as well as other potential free agents like Bryce Harper. In fact, the Phillies may not even want to wait until next offseason, as Roch Kubatko of MASN reports that the club has expressed interest in Machado to the Orioles. In return, the O’s have been doing their homework on the Phillies’ minor league system.

Kubatko notes that the Orioles like, in particular, Phillies prospects Sixto Sanchez and Scott Kingery. The Phillies may be hesitant to part with either considering they can get Machado for a lot of cash but no prospects next winter. MLB Pipeline rates Sanchez as the Phillies’ best pitching prospect and the second-best prospect overall in the system. Kingery is third overall and the top infielder. While the Phillies’ system is among the best in baseball, its notable weakness is pitching, so parting with Sanchez — who throws in the upper 90’s and can hit triple digits — would be a big ask. Kingery is seen as the club’s next second baseman of the future, so much so that the Phillies are shopping Cesar Hernandez at the Winter Meetings.

As usual with rumors during the Winter Meetings, there may be some smoke but no actual fire here. The Orioles are likely to get continued interest in Machado from many teams between now and the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. They are simply doing their due diligence by seeing what the Phillies and others have to offer for Machado.