Lance Berkman hoping to return Tuesday after MRI exam shows “minor” calf tear

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UPDATE: Goold reports that an MRI exam revealed a “minor” calf tear and Berkman says it’s “more than reasonable” for him to return on Tuesday.

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Lance Berkman was able to play through a finger injury, but the Cardinals first baseman called himself “doubtful” to return this week after suffering a calf injury legging out a triple on Tuesday.

Asked if he thought a disabled list stint would be needed, Berkman told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch: “If it gets any worse, then it becomes an issue. We’ll have to wait and see how it responds.”

Berkman also indicated that a similar injury in 2009 required a DL stay, noting that early season weather also doesn’t help matters. Matt Carpenter subbed for Berkman yesterday as Cardinals manager Mike Matheny also gave Carlos Beltran and David Freese the game off.

Report: Orioles interested in Alex Cobb

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MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the Orioles have interest in free agent right-hander Alex Cobb, who rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Rays earlier this week. Cobb was most recently linked to the Cubs, who reportedly reached out to his agent during the GM Meetings and garnered mutual interest from the righty, but nothing appears to be set in stone yet.

Cobb, 30, completed his sixth season with the Rays in 2017. He went 12-10 in 29 starts and turned in a respectable 3.66 ERA, 6.4 SO/9 and career-best 2.2 BB/9 in 179 1/3 innings. Despite losing a couple of weeks to turf toe, he remained healthy for most of the year and showed no signs of the elbow issues that robbed him of the majority of his 2015-2016 campaigns.

It’s still fairly early for any deals to come to fruition, but Morosi notes that the Orioles seem to be focused on bulking up their rotation during the first few months of the offseason. It’ll take more than a healthy Alex Cobb to right that ship, however: Orioles’ starters earned a collective 5.70 ERA and 5.5 fWAR in 2017, good for worst and fourth-worst marks in the league, respectively. Behind Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy (and perhaps Gabriel Ynoa/Miguel Castro), they still need three viable starters to compete in 2018. Whether or not they can afford to spring for a single starter with Cobb’s price tag (four years, $48 million, per MLB Trade Rumors) remains to be seen.