Carlos Zambrano ordered to rest after being hit in face with comebacker

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Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports that Carlos Zambrano will not make his next start in the Venezuelan Winter League until December 6 as he recovers from being hit in the face with a comebacker during a start last Friday.

Big Z required 16 stitches after being hit below the right bottom lip. While he originally believed that he wouldn’t have to miss a start, doctors have ordered him to rest for now.

Zambrano has a 3.29 ERA and 12/6 K/BB ratio in 13 2/3 innings over his first three winter league outings. The 30-year-old right-hander recently met with Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein in Chicago and was told that he will have to “earn his way back” to staying with the team. He is owed $18 million next season in the final guaranteed year of a five-year, $91 million contract.

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.