Vladimir Guerrero has small “crack” in right hand, couldn’t get through batting practice

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Vladimir Guerrero hasn’t played since being plunked on the right hand as part of the Orioles-Red Sox brouhaha Sunday and Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun reports that X-rays revealed a small “crack” in the hand.

Guerrero was hoping to play through the injury and perhaps even rejoin the Orioles’ lineup tonight, but “couldn’t get through batting practice” this afternoon.

Zrebiec speculates that he’ll be given 24-48 hours to show significant improvement before a stint on the disabled list, but at this stage of Guerrero’s career it doesn’t make much sense to have him playing at anything less than 100 percent.

He’s hit just .279 with a .700 OPS for by far the worst production of his career and a few weeks off may do the 36-year-old some good either way, particularly since any thoughts of the Orioles getting value for him at the trade deadline are probably out the window now anyway.

Royals sign Michael Saunders to a minor-league deal

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Free agent outfielder Michael Saunders has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Royals, the team announced Friday. While the move comes just two days after Saunders agreed to terms with the Pirates, he allegedly asked for his release after the club acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson in a multi-player swap with the Rays on Thursday.

After earning his first spot on an All-Star team in 2016, Saunders followed up a solid campaign with a career-worst performance in 2017. The 31-year-old split the season between the Phillies and Blue Jays’ camps, batting a combined .202/.256/.344 with six home runs and -0.7 fWAR in 234 plate appearances. Although he remained healthy throughout the year, with no sign of the lingering hamstring strain that has plagued him on and off since 2013, he wasn’t productive enough to merit a full-time role on either roster.

With Dickerson slated for a starting role in Pittsburgh, it was unlikely that Saunders would have commanded anything other than a backup role in 2018. Now, however, he’ll compete for playing time amid a slew of outfield options, including Alex Gordon, Cody Asche, Jorge Bonifacio, Tyler Collins and Paulo Orlando.