Leo Mazzone retracts the John Smoltz pine tar allegation

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Yesterday Leo Mazzone kinda sounded like he admitted that John Smoltz used to put pine tar on baseballs.  Today he kinda sorta retracted it. His comments on WNNX radio in Atlanta today:

“We were trying to have some fun on the air and in trying to have some fun somebody took a story and ran with it and said that I said that Smoltzy cheated in the game,” he said.  When asked directly if Smoltz cheated he said “absolutely not” and “that’s a bunch of bologna.”  He also played the “my comments were taken out of context” card.

But he did say that pine tar was used at least a little bit:

“With something like pine tar, that’s not doctoring a baseball. That’s trying to get a grip when it’s cold. What’s wrong with that?”

I guess nothin’ if “everybody does it.”  Right Leo?

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.