Brian McCann dealing with strained intercostal muscle

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Brian McCann left last night’s game against the Pirates after five innings with what was described as an intercostal muscle strain in his right side.

McCann missed a little over two weeks last July with a strained left oblique muscle and wasn’t nearly the same player upon his return, but he told David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he doesn’t think this injury is as severe. While he’s scheduled to be reevaluated today, he’ll likely sit out the next couple of games.

“Just want to be smart about things and make sure I make this a day or two or three thing instead of a DL stint,” McCann said. “Just precautionary reasons. We wanted to make sure it heals up.”

McCann, 28, is batting .250/.300/.422 with three homers, nine RBI and a .722 OPS over 70 plate appearances this season. Quality backup David Ross will fill in until he is ready to return to the lineup.

Report: Phillies interested in Manny Machado; Orioles have done homework on Phillies’ minor league system

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Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will become a free agent after the 2018 season and there hasn’t been much in the way of progress on a contract extension between the two sides. It seems as if Machado will test the open market next offseason.

The Phillies, currently with relatively minuscule obligations for the 2018 season and beyond, are expected to be big players for Machado, as well as other potential free agents like Bryce Harper. In fact, the Phillies may not even want to wait until next offseason, as Roch Kubatko of MASN reports that the club has expressed interest in Machado to the Orioles. In return, the O’s have been doing their homework on the Phillies’ minor league system.

Kubatko notes that the Orioles like, in particular, Phillies prospects Sixto Sanchez and Scott Kingery. The Phillies may be hesitant to part with either considering they can get Machado for a lot of cash but no prospects next winter. MLB Pipeline rates Sanchez as the Phillies’ best pitching prospect and the second-best prospect overall in the system. Kingery is third overall and the top infielder. While the Phillies’ system is among the best in baseball, its notable weakness is pitching, so parting with Sanchez — who throws in the upper 90’s and can hit triple digits — would be a big ask. Kingery is seen as the club’s next second baseman of the future, so much so that the Phillies are shopping Cesar Hernandez at the Winter Meetings.

As usual with rumors during the Winter Meetings, there may be some smoke but no actual fire here. The Orioles are likely to get continued interest in Machado from many teams between now and the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. They are simply doing their due diligence by seeing what the Phillies and others have to offer for Machado.