Josh Hamilton back in Rangers lineup, blames caffeine and sports drinks for vision problems

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After missing the past five-and-a-half games with what was initially called a sinus infection and subsequent vision problems Josh Hamilton is back in the Rangers’ lineup tonight against the A’s.

However, the diagnosis has changed somewhat. According to Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas the Rangers “say Hamilton has ocular keratitis, which is blurred vision from too much caffeine and sports drinks” and “the cornea dries because of it.”

Well, that’s certainly a new one (and presumably unrelated to his tobacco issues from last month). Johns Hopkins’ website has a whole lot more information on Hamilton’s condition if you’re interested.

Craig Gentry filled in for Hamilton, starting all five games in center field with Nelson Cruz and David Murphy in the outfield corners. Hamilton is batting third and playing center field tonight and he’ll try to reclaim the AL home run lead after Miguel Cabrera tied him over the weekend. Hamilton, who has 42 homers in 138 games compared to 42 homers in 151 games for Cabrera, also ranks second among AL hitters with 123 RBIs behind Cabrera’s league-leading 133.

Report: Orioles interested in Alex Cobb

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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.