Jayson Werth to sit out weekend in Pittsburgh

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Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth, dealing with a tweaked hamstring, will watch this weekend’s series against the Pirates from the bench at PNC Park. Via Mark Zuckerman:

“Hopefully it’s going to come along, and he’ll be ready when we get home,” [manager Davey] Johnson said, speculating Werth could return Tuesday for the start of a home interleague series with the Tigers.

Johnson reiterated that Werth’s hamstring injury won’t require a DL stint, unlike Zimmerman and Wilson Ramos (who each missed 15 days with a similar ailment). In Werth’s case, the hamstring is tight but not pulled, according to Johnson.

Werth has mostly hit in the #2 spot in the Nationals’ batting order. Without his bat tonight, Johnson moved Ian Desmond to #2 after having hit fifth yesterday and fourth on Wednesday. Werth is hitting .260 with a 3.5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, both uncharacteristic of the right fielder.

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.