Rich Hill came back strong from last year’s Tommy John elbow surgery, reclaiming a spot in the Red Sox’s bullpen and throwing 14 innings with a 2.63 ERA, but now the left-hander will miss at least a month with a strained flexor muscle in that same elbow.
Joe McDonald of ESPN Boston says that actually qualifies as positive news, because the Red Sox sent Hill to be examined by Dr. James Andrews and feared he might have another torn ligament that would require surgery.
To replace Hill on the roster the Red Sox recalled Mark Melancon from Triple-A, where he recovered from an absolutely brutal first two weeks in Boston to get back on track as a potential late-inning reliever.
Melancon earned his trip down to Pawtucket by going 0-2 with a 49.50 ERA in four appearances to begin the season, allowing 11 runs in two innings. And then he dominated at Triple-A, throwing 22 innings with a 0.82 ERA and 27/3 K/BB ratio to look like the shutdown reliever the Red Sox traded Jed Lowrie to the Astros to get this offseason.
Buster Olney of ESPN reports that the White Sox and Diamondbacks have emerged as two of the strongest contenders for Orioles third baseman Manny Machado. It seems like a foregone conclusion that Baltimore will deal their superstar infielder this winter, but nothing appears imminent just yet. While both the White Sox and D-backs have reportedly made serious offers, Orioles owner Peter Angelos is wary of any non-contending team that might be incentivized to flip Machado to the rival Yankees next season.
The White Sox, for their part, have assured the Orioles that they view Machado more as a solid one-year rental than the new face of their franchise, with no immediate plans to deal him elsewhere. Given their current rebuilding status and the unlikelihood that they would contend in 2018, it makes their offer a bit of a head-scratcher — and, as USA Today Sports’ Bob Nightengale points out, they’ve been reluctant to put any top-5 prospects on the table in preliminary negotiations.
The Diamondbacks, on the other hand, are far better positioned to enter the postseason in 2018, though that doesn’t automatically make them the perfect landing spot for Machado. They already have Jake Lamb stationed at third base, and while it’s not inconceivable that they could jettison the Ketel Marte/Chris Owings/Nick Ahmed shortstop platoon for someone of Machado’s talent, his $17 million salary appears to be more than the D-backs are currently capable of absorbing.
The White Sox and D-backs may have exhibited the most interest in Machado so far, but they’re hardly the only contenders here. MASN Sports’ Roch Kubatko maintains that the Cardinals and Yankees remain in discussions for the 25-year-old, with Cardinals’ RHP Jordan Hicks and catcher Carson Kelly drawing interest, as well as Yankees’ top prospect Gleyber Torres. Any deal involving the Yankees still feels like a long shot, however; as Craig mentioned on Wednesday, it makes sense that the club wouldn’t want to see their star player hanging around their division rivals in 2018, and the Yankees should be well prepared to make a run at him in free agency next winter.