Mark Ellis to return soon, but might have lost starting job

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A’s second baseman Mark Ellis told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle this weekend that he expects to be activated from the 15-day disabled list on June 22, the first day he’s eligible.

Ellis was shut down just five days ago with a sore right hamstring, but he ran at about 75 percent effort on Saturday afternoon and also took grounders on the infield during batting practice. He’s getting healthy quickly and should be ready to head out on a minor league rehab assignment early this week.

Now comes the big question: Will Ellis have a starting job upon returning to the major leagues?

The A’s called up top infield prospect Jemile Weeks when they disabled Ellis on June 7, and Weeks has brought an element of excitement to the Oakland batting order. Through his first 19 major league plate appearances, the 24-year-old is hitting .353/.389/.647 with two triples, a double and an RBI.

“I know I’m a good player, I know he’s a good player, and you can’t have too many good players,” Ellis acknowledged Saturday. “These things have a way of working themselves out.”

A’s interim manager Bob Melvin told reporters that he’s evaluating the situation on a “day to day” basis.

Report: Orioles interested in Lance Lynn

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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.