Evan Drellich, beat writer for MassLive.com, tells the story:
BOSTON — Maybe Clay Buchholz will need just one rehab start after all.
That’s a scenario the Red Sox right-hander suggested was possible Wednesday, on a day he said he felt like he had “finally turned a corner” in his recovery from right-shoulder bursitis. He threw from about 100 feet on flat ground, and would need to get to 120 feet before stepping on a mound.
“I feel like I am finally getting close to feeling pretty much normal now,” Buchholz told reporters following Wednesday afternoon’s 100-foot throwing session. “So the last few days of throwing are encouraging. I’m finally able to clear my head a little bit and go about it as just getting back to getting off the mound.”
Buchholz has not pitched in a game since June 8 due to neck and shoulder discomfort.
The hope is that he’ll be ready to return to the Red Sox rotation shortly after the All-Star break.
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.