Tim Hudson set to make season debut Sunday

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After throwing 101 pitches in his fourth and final minor-league rehab start Tim Hudson has been cleared to return from back surgery and the 36-year-old will rejoin the Braves’ rotation Sunday versus the Pirates.

Hudson underwent surgery in November and will slide into the rotation spot created by the Braves demoting Jair Jurrjens to Triple-A earlier this week.

He posted a 3.57 ERA while rehabbing and held minor-league hitters to a .190 batting average, but also had a poor 9/6 K/BB ratio in 10.2 innings. In terms of workload Hudson should be fully stretched out and able to start without any restrictions.

Because of Jurrjens’ demotion rookie Randall Delgado will remain in the rotation as the Braves’ fifth starter.

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.