Brian Roberts, Mike Gonzalez not close to rejoining Orioles

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New Orioles manager Juan Samuel delivered some more bad news Tuesday when he made it clear that neither Brian Roberts nor Mike Gonzalez were ready to help the team with the game’s worst record.
Roberts appeared on pace for a mid-June return before contracting pneumonia last month. That setback, though, may prove mild to the one he suffered last week. Roberts’ back is again bothering him, though the Orioles are hoping it’s not related to the herniated disc that has kept him on the shelf since April 10.
Roberts was reexamined Tuesday and is due for more tests this week before the Orioles update his condition. Samuel indicated that there’s no longer any timetable for his return. Speculation that he may need season-ending surgery will only increase until the Orioles release something definitive.
Gonzalez, who was also aiming for a mid-June return from a left shoulder strain, threw in the mid-80s during a simulated inning Tuesday. Instead of rebuilding arm strength, he’s actually lost velocity since he resumed throwing.
The lone good news is that Alfredo Simon, who was filling in for Gonzalez in the closer’s role before suffering a strained hamstring last month, is making steady progress and might return next week.

Dodgers, Cubs could be interested in Justin Verlander

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Jon Morosi of MLB Network said yesterday that the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs have been engaged in trade talks involving starting pitcher Justin Verlander and catcher Alex Avila. Morosi also noted that the Los Angeles Dodgers have shown interest in Verlander as well. Whether this is idyl chitchatting of serious dispute is unclear, of course. Everything is unclear in the leadup to the deadline.

The veteran right-hander is carrying a 4.50 with a 120/57 K/BB ratio over 124 innings. Verlander impressed last year, finishing second in AL Cy Young Award balloting, but he has fallen back to Earth in 2017. His velocity remains high, however, and it’s not hard to imagine him going on a solid run in a way that could help a contender. He is owed $56 million over the next two seasons, however, and has a $22 million option that could vest for 2020, so negotiations for him could be tough. If the Tigers want talent back, they’ll have to eat salary.

Verlander got an ovation from a Detroit crowd last night which seemed to sense that, yes, it’s possible he pitched his last game for the Tigers. Given that he has 10/5 rights, allowing him to veto any trade, that decision is ultimately up to him. It’s not hard to imagine him accepting a trade to a contender, however.

We wait see.

A 30-year-old rookie won his major league debut

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The Dodgers beat the Twins last night thanks to a Cody Bellinger three-run homer. But Bellinger was not the only Dodgers rookie who had a notable game. A far more unconventional one is worth mentioning as well.

That rookie is reliever Edward Paredes, who made his big league debut last night. What makes him unconventional: he’s 30. Turns 31 in September, actually. Paredes pitched professionally for 12 years before making it to The Show. Most of that time was in the affiliated minors in the Mariners, Indians, Angels and Dodgers organizations. He spent time in the independent Atlantic League in 2013-15 as well.

Paredes did not do anything heroic last night. It was more of a right place/right time kind of appearance, retiring the side in order with a fly out, line out and a ground out and remaining the pitcher of record while Bellinger hit that three-run homer. That’s enough for a W, though. A W that Paredes waited a lot longer for than most pitchers who notch one in the bigs.