Edinson Volquez could return before the All-Star break

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Edinson Volquez is ahead of schedule. In fact, Reds manager Dusty Baker told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that he is tentatively penciled in to face the Mets on July 7.

“That’s what I’ve got on my (schedule), barring setbacks,” Dusty Baker
said. “We want to make sure he’s ready when he gets here.”

Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said that the Reds may give him an extra day or two, but that a return before the All-Star break is possible.

Volquez, who underwent Tommy John surgery last August, has tossed eight scoreless innings over his first two minor league rehab starts with Class A Lynchburg, topping out at 97 mph on the radar gun. According to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com, it is anticipated that he will only require four more rehab starts before a return from the disabled list.

In case you were curious, Volquez served his 50-game suspension for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs while he was on the DL. Pretty sweet deal.
 

Report: Blue Jays and Marco Estrada nearing agreement on contract extension

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Jon Morosi reports that the Blue Jays and starter Marco Estrada are nearing an agreement on a contract extension. The deal is expected to be for one guaranteed year, Morosi adds.

Estrada, 34, was set to become a free agent after the season. He earned $26 million on a two-year contract signed with the Jays in November 2015. While the right-hander has a subpar 4.84 ERA on the season, he has a solid 170/67 K/BB ratio in 176 2/3 innings and has looked much better since the end of July. Between July 31 and his most recent start on Saturday, Estrada owns a 3.75 ERA.

J.A. Happ is the only other starter technically under contract with the Jays next season. Marcus Stroman will be eligible for his second year of arbitration and the Jays will certainly agree to give him a raise on his $3.4 million salary for the 2017 season. The Jays will likely be active this offseason in adding rotation help and they’re starting early by locking up Estrada.

Video: Jackie Bradley, Jr. robs Chris Davis of a home run

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Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. robbed Orioles first baseman Chris Davis of his 25th home run on Tuesday evening, leaping at the fence in center field to make the catch and keep the game scoreless in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Davis swung at the first pitch he saw from Drew Pomeranz, a slider that crossed the middle of the plate.

This game has potential playoff implications, as the first-place Red Sox hold a three-game lead over the Yankees in the NL East. Meanwhile, the Orioles are still in the AL Wild Card race, trailing the Twins by 5.5 games for the second Wild Card slot.