Jorge De La Rosa likely to make season debut Thursday

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Jorge De La Rosa’s comeback from Tommy John elbow surgery has dragged on far longer than expected, but there may finally be a light at the end of the tunnel.

De La Rosa started a Single-A playoff game yesterday, throwing five innings of three-run ball, and Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports that he’s now “on the brink of pitching in the big leagues.”

He’ll join the Rockies this week and according to Renck could start as soon as Thursday against the Giants, which would be his first game action versus major-league hitters since May 24, 2011.

De La Rosa has a $11 million player option for 2013 that he’ll obviously exercise, as that’s probably about $8 million more than he’d get on the open market as a free agent right now.

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.