Mike Pelfrey ahead of schedule in return from Tommy John surgery

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Mike Pelfrey is just 10 months removed from undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery, but he’s throwing without limitations at Twins camp and told Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com that he expects to be ready for Opening Day:

I’m going to be ready. I guess it’s hard for some people to believe maybe. But I feel great.

Pelfrey has apparently gotten Dr. James Andrews’ blessing to speed up the typical recovery timetable, although obviously he still has some hurdles to clear between now and April.

Pelfrey went under the knife in May of last year, ending a streak of four consecutive seasons in which he started at least 30 games and threw at least 180 innings for the Mets. He signed a one-year, $4 million deal with the Twins, who desperately need rotation help after ranking dead last among AL teams in starter ERA.

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.