Domonic Brown was on the verge of replacing Jayson Werth as the Phillies’ starting right fielder when the 23-year-old top prospect suffered a broken hamate bone in mid-March.
His comeback took a big step yesterday as Brown homered twice in an extended spring training game and Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that he’s scheduled to begin a minor-league rehab assignment today.
He’ll start out at high Single-A and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. was noncommittal when asked if Brown would be promoted to the majors once the maximum 20-day rehab stint was completed, saying: “He could. It all depends on how he plays.”
Brown’s injury opened the door for Ben Francisco to hit .262 with four homers and a .775 OPS in 23 games as Philadelphia’s primary right fielder and there were questions about Brown’s big-league readiness even before the broken hamate bone, so it won’t be surprising if the Phillies option him back to Triple-A once the rehab assignment is finished. If healthy though, Brown should quickly make it pretty clear that he has nothing left to prove in the minors after hitting .327 with a .980 OPS between Double-A and Triple-A last year.
The Orioles singlehandedly kept the rumor mill churning this weekend. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the club is interested in making a play for free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, adding him to a list of potential candidates that also includes free agent righty Alex Cobb. The two are expected to command similar contracts in free agency, but Morosi notes that the Orioles may prefer Cobb based on his familiarity with the AL East.
Lynn, 30, is two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Despite missing the 2016 season, he bounced back with a respectable 11-8 record in 33 starts and complemented his efforts with a 3.43 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 over 186 1/3 innings for the 2017 Cardinals. He lost several days with a blister on his pitching hand in early September, but managed to avoid any major injuries and can reasonably be expected to shoulder another heavy workload in 2018.
Lynn may not be the Orioles’ first choice to beef up their starting rotation, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be in high demand as one of very few viable starters on the market this winter. The veteran righty rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Thursday and will likely be seeking a multi-year contract, one that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch estimates around five years and $100+ million. If the Orioles are willing to bite that bullet, they’ll still need to compensate the Cardinals with their third pick in next year’s draft.