Tommy Hanson cleared to pitch in instructional league

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From Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution comes word that Braves right-hander Tommy Hanson completed his “third and final” bullpen session Saturday in Atlanta and plans to head to Orlando next week to begin making appearances in instructional league games.

Hanson has been sidelined since the first week of August due to a slight undersurface tear in his right rotator cuff. The 25-year-old starter is hoping to return to the bigs before the end of the regular season so that he can prove his health before the playoffs begin. He wants to be a member of the postseason rotation. And the Braves probably want that even more.

Hanson had an ace-like 3.60 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 142/46 K/BB ratio in 130 innings before the injury.

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.