Clay Buchholz could resume throwing this weekend

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While Jon Lester is sidelined indefinitely with a lat strain, there’s at least some encouraging news to pass along about Clay Buchholz.

According to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald, Buchholz hopes to resume a throwing program as soon as Sunday. The 26-year-old right-hander received a cortisone shot in his back when he saw Dr. Craig Brigham in North Carolina on Wednesday.

Brigham ruled out the worst-case scenario of structural damage and advised Buchholz that he can treat the injury with rest and rehabilitation.

 “I got the injection and it’s going to take some time to heal,” Buchholz said. “Then you’ve got to work on some core exercises to get that healthy and strong again. As soon as I can’t feel it, he said I can go from there. He said there was no case of me hurting myself long term if I had to pitch through it. … It was definitely good news. Structurally, no damage. That was my thoughts going in. I thought they were going to say something bad. I came out of there in a lot better spirits than I went in, so that was good.”

Buchholz hasn’t pitched since leaving a start against the Rays on June 16 with a strained lower back. He is 6-3 with a 3.48 ERA and 60/31 K/BB ratio over 14 starts this season.

Report: Orioles re-sign Pedro Alvarez to minors deal

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The Orioles have re-signed infielder Pedro Alvarez to a minor league deal, per a report from Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports. The deal guarantees Alvarez $1 million if he makes the 40-man roster and another $2 million in potential performance bonuses. The team has yet to confirm the deal.

This will be Alvarez’s third year with the Orioles. After posting decent numbers in 2016, the 31-year-old was relegated to the minors for the majority of the 2017 season and saw only 14 games at the big league level. He finished the year with an underwhelming .239/.294/.442 batting line and 26 home runs through 595 plate appearances for Triple-A Norfolk.

Alvarez is expected to split his time between first base and DH this spring, and MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli notes that he’s unlikely to experiment with another outfield role. While he isn’t too far removed from his last productive season in the majors, the veteran infielder will function purely as insurance for first baseman Chris Davis and designated hitter Mark Trumbo and will likely begin the season in the minors.