Carl Crawford diagnosed with UCL sprain in elbow

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UPDATE: Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald was told by a Red Sox source that the team expects Crawford back by the All-Star break. In fact, they believe a return in June isn’t out of the question. Of course, this is assuming his UCL responds to treatment.

9:37 PM: Via Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal, the Red Sox have announced that Crawford was diagnosed with an ulnar collateral ligament sprain in his left elbow. A “conservative protocol treatment” was recommended, which means he will not undergo surgery, but he was given a platelet rich plasma injection and has been shut down from baseball activity.

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe originally reported that Crawford could miss three months, but the team’s announcement did not include a timetable. It’s safe to say they’ll be without him for a while, though.

6:43 PM: Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com was told that Crawford has an injury to the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow which will not require surgery. The exact timetable is uncertain, but the Red Sox are hopeful that he could return sooner than three months.

6:10 PM: We don’t have much to chew on right now, but Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe is reporting that it “looks like” Carl Crawford will miss three months. Ouch.

Crawford was scheduled to visit Dr. James Andrews this week in regard to his ailing left elbow, so it’s safe to say he didn’t get very good news. The Red Sox are expected to issue a statement shortly with further information.

Jacoby Ellsbury is already sidelined until at least June due to a subluxed right shoulder, so this is yet another tough blow for the Red Sox offense. Marlon Byrd, Cody Ross and Ryan Sweeney will continue to hold things down in the outfield for now.

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.