Nationals visiting “top free agent choice” Mark Buehrle at his home in St. Louis

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Mark Buehrle is rumored to be fielding offers from nearly half the teams in baseball and the Nationals are pulling out all the stops, with Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reporting that they’ve made Buehrle “their top free agent choice” and are visiting the left-hander at his home in St. Louis today.

According to Kilgore the two sides first met last week at the general manager meetings in Milwaukee, so today’s get-together presumably could include a contract offer.

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo has said repeatedly that he’s looking for a veteran, innings-eating starter and Buehrle has thrown 200 or more innings in 11 consecutive seasons, so the 32-year-old obviously fits the bill.

Interestingly, after years of speculation about Buehrle wanting to pitch in St. Louis the Cardinals are one of the few teams not linked to him this offseason.

Report: Shohei Ohtani has sprained UCL in pitching elbow

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The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.

Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”

Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.

Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.