Terry Francona thinks neck problems may be sapping Adrian Gonzalez’s power

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Adrian Gonzalez has hit just one homer in 140 plate appearances since the All-Star break and manager Terry Francona speculated today that a stiff neck may be to blame for the lack of power.

“I think he still feels it,” Francona told Joe McDonald of ESPN Boston. “It may have cut into his power a little bit, but he’ll play and will continue to play. If there were ever a chance we could give him a couple of days off, we’d probably do it, but it’s not the time to do it right now.”

Francona noted that most players are at less than 100 percent by this point in the season and, despite his lack of homers, Gonzalez has hit .331 with seven doubles in 30 games since the break. Overall this season Gonzalez leads the league with a .348 batting average and ranks third in on-base percentage, sixth in slugging percentage, and fourth in OPS.

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.