Aaron Cook suffers broken ring finger, likely out until May

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Aaron Cook is giving new meaning to the phrase “tough-luck pitcher.”

Cook was already expected to begin the season on the disabled list due to inflammation in his shoulder, but he could now be sidelined until May after breaking the ring finger on his pitching hand.

As he explained to Troy Renck of the Denver Post, Cook suffered the injury when he accidentally shut a door on his hand.

“It’s unfortunate. I woke up today after long-tossing and my shoulder was pain-free, but my finger really hurt,” Cook told The Denver Post. “At two weeks, I am hoping to start throwing. I don’t use the finger really to grip the ball. So as long as it doesn’t hurt when I throw, I am going to push as fast as I can to get back.”

Cook first felt symptoms with his shoulder following his second bullpen session of the spring, so he’ll essentially need to start from scratch once he’s ready to throw. That means the Rockies will have to settle on a fifth starter for the first month of the season.

Felipe Paulino, who was acquired from the Astros in the Clint Barmes trade, has already been moved to the bullpen after allowing five runs in six innings over his first two appearances this spring. That leaves Esmil Rogers as the current favorite, though Clayton Mortensen and John Maine could also be considered.

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.