Red Sox have differing views on when Cody Ross will return

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Initial reports about Cody Ross’ fractured foot suggested he could miss two months, but the outfielder said yesterday that he already felt significantly better and now some members of the Red Sox are hoping he could make a much speedier recovery.

Or as manager Bobby Valentine put it to Alex Speier of WEEI.com: “At worst case, it’s not as bad as we thought it was yesterday. At best case, it’s much better. At worst case, it seems like it’s a couple of weeks.”

That’s quite a change from a couple of months, and sure enough general manager Ben Cherington later tried to downplay talk of Ross returning that soon by explaining that “there’s a risk of it getting worse” if he rushes things.

Cherington did say that Ross could return “towards the early part” of a 6-8 week recovery timetable, but for now at least it sounds like Valentine was a tad optimistic.

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.