After Chase Utley was scratched from the lineup earlier this week due to a “burning sensation” in his rib cage, it appeared unlikely that he would be able to avoid an extended absence, so it comes as no surprise that the Phillies are placing him the 15-day disabled list.
Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that Utley is dealing with a mild oblique strain. The usual timeline for this type of injury is anywhere from 2-4 weeks, but Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. said that they hope to have him back after 15 days.
It’s a tough break for the Phillies, as Utley is off to a strong start this season. The 34-year-old is batting .272/.339/.475 with seven home runs, 25 RBI, five stolen bases an an .844 OPS in 44 games. Freddy Galvis should get most of the playing time at second base until Utley 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.