Out since April 21 with what the Royals termed a left rib stress reaction, Greg Holland began a minor-league rehab assignment at Double-A yesterday.
Holland allowed one run in one inning, throwing 19 pitches, and thanks to technology Royals manager Ned Yost watched the outing live on MiLB.tv.
Dick Kaegel of MLB.com reports that the right-hander’s fastball topped out at 94-95 miles per hour, and both Holland and Yost seemed generally pleased with how things went.
Once he’s ready Holland will return to a setup role in front of closer Jonathan Broxton, who beat him out for ninth-inning duties after Joakim Soria went down in spring training. He had a 1.80 ERA and 74 strikeouts in 60 innings setting up Soria as a rookie last season.
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.