After passing multiple concussion tests, Jeremy Hellickson has been officially cleared to start this afternoon against the Red Sox.
Hellickson was carted off the field Wednesday after being hit in the head by a fly ball during batting practice. Initial tests came back OK, but Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the young right-hander took two two more concussion tests yesterday, one at a Boston hospital in the morning and another on a computer in the clubhouse during the game.
“I passed finally,” Hellickson said. “I felt normal the last few days, I felt like I could go, I was just waiting for the okay. I’m not sure what they were seeing to even think about holding me back, but you understand what the process is and you have to wait it out.”
It’s not clear who had the final say in the process, but Hellickson also had to get approval from MLB before getting the go-ahead to start this afternoon.
Hellickson won the American League Rookie of the Year award last season after finishing 13-10 with a 2.95 ERA and 117/72 K/BB ratio over 189 innings. He struck out four over 8 2/3 scoreless innings in his season debut last Sunday against the division-rival Yankees.
Buster Olney of ESPN reports that the White Sox and Diamondbacks have emerged as two of the strongest contenders for Orioles third baseman Manny Machado. It seems like a foregone conclusion that Baltimore will deal their superstar infielder this winter, but nothing appears imminent just yet. While both the White Sox and D-backs have reportedly made serious offers, Orioles owner Peter Angelos is wary of any non-contending team that might be incentivized to flip Machado to the rival Yankees next season.
The White Sox, for their part, have assured the Orioles that they view Machado more as a solid one-year rental than the new face of their franchise, with no immediate plans to deal him elsewhere. Given their current rebuilding status and the unlikelihood that they would contend in 2018, it makes their offer a bit of a head-scratcher — and, as USA Today Sports’ Bob Nightengale points out, they’ve been reluctant to put any top-5 prospects on the table in preliminary negotiations.
The Diamondbacks, on the other hand, are far better positioned to enter the postseason in 2018, though that doesn’t automatically make them the perfect landing spot for Machado. They already have Jake Lamb stationed at third base, and while it’s not inconceivable that they could jettison the Ketel Marte/Chris Owings/Nick Ahmed shortstop platoon for someone of Machado’s talent, his $17 million salary appears to be more than the D-backs are currently capable of absorbing.
The White Sox and D-backs may have exhibited the most interest in Machado so far, but they’re hardly the only contenders here. MASN Sports’ Roch Kubatko maintains that the Cardinals and Yankees remain in discussions for the 25-year-old, with Cardinals’ RHP Jordan Hicks and catcher Carson Kelly drawing interest, as well as Yankees’ top prospect Gleyber Torres. Any deal involving the Yankees still feels like a long shot, however; as Craig mentioned on Wednesday, it makes sense that the club wouldn’t want to see their star player hanging around their division rivals in 2018, and the Yankees should be well prepared to make a run at him in free agency next winter.