Pablo Sandoval hasn’t played since straining his left hamstring while stretching for a throw at first base on July 24, but he’s ready to return to game action.
According to Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com, Sandoval is scheduled to play five innings at third base tomorrow when he begins a minor league rehab assignment with High-A San Jose. Giants manager Bruce Bochy thinks he “more than likely would play two of three games down there” before returning, which means he’ll likely be activated for Monday’s series opener against the Nationals if all goes well.
Sandoval, 25, is batting .299/.352/.491 with eight home runs, 33 RBI and an .843 OPS in 62 games played this season. The recently-acquired Marco Scutaro has filled in quite nicely at third base, including a career-high seven RBI last night, but he’ll likely see more playing time between second base and shortstop once Sandoval is ready to return.
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.