The Athletics and Manny Ramirez could reach an agreement within days

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reported earlier this week that the Athletics were “likely” to sign Manny Ramirez just before or soon after the start of spring training, so the following information should come as no real surprise.

According to Janie McCauley of the Associated Press, the Athletics still have “strong interest” in Ramirez and could reach an agreement on a contract as soon as the next few days or sometime next week.

If a deal is reached, McCauley writes that the 39-year-old would receive a contract for “slightly more than the league minimum of $480,000.” It’s not clear whether this would be as part of a guaranteed major-league deal or a minor-league deal. Just speculating, but it’s possible some other performance-based incentives would be included.

Ramirez would be eligible to participate during Cactus League action, but he would have to sit out the first 50 games of the regular season as he serves a suspension for his second positive PED test. Barring any rainouts, he could make his A’s debut as soon as June 2 against the Royals.

Zach Britton receives stem cell injection, likely done for the season

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Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.

The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.

Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.

Dodgers can clinch NL West on Friday

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The Dodgers staved off a four-game series sweep at the hands of the Phillies, winning 5-4 on Thursday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. The win reduced their magic number in the NL West to one, meaning that a win against the Giants at home or a Diamondbacks loss to the Marlins on Friday will result in clinching the division.

Of course, the Dodgers winning and the Diamondbacks losing hasn’t exactly been a sure thing lately. The D-Backs rattled off a 13-game winning streak from August 24 through September 6. The Dodgers lost 11 games in a row from September 2-11 and were on a four-game slide before Thursday’s win.

The Dodgers will send Rich Hill to the mound to start opposite Jeff Samardzija. The Diamondbacks have Zack Greinke opposing Adam Conley.