Stephen Strasburg shaky in third minor league rehab start

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Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington has all the details on Stephen Strasburg’s latest rehab outing.

Strasburg, now 11 months removed from Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery, allowed four hits, two walks and five earned runs in under two innings of work Wednesday evening against the Astros’ Single-A affiliate from Lexington, Kentucky.

He struck out three and hit 97 mph with his fastball, but the 23-year-old did not look overly sharp in what can be considered his worst professional start.

Strasburg tallied four strikeouts and yielded one run in 1 2/3 innings with Single-A Hagerstown during his first minor league rehab game, back in early August. He then threw three scoreless innings for Single-A Potomac in his second rehab appearance, fanning five.

Wednesday’s outing was certainly ugly, but the Nationals’ front office is likely taking solace in the fact that Strasburg hasn’t experienced any pain or discomfort to this point in his prized right arm.

Nationals skipper Davey Johnson told reporters this week that the current plan calls for Strasburg to return to the major league mound around September 2. That blueprint, so far, remains unchanged.

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.