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Is Biogenesis casting a shadow over the trade deadline?

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It seems like all baseball news has been overshadowed by the looming Biogenesis suspensions and the circus that is Alex Rodriguez’s, Major League Baseball’s and the New York Yankees’ public feud. Indeed, as this week began it appeared as though today’s trade deadline would be a mere afterthought. Or, if not an afterthought, that it would be subservient to the Biogenesis drama, with teams looking to desperately cover for players they will lose to suspension.

Things have calmed down considerably in the past 24, hours, however.

For one thing, one of the teams that stood to be most adversely affected by Biogenesis suspensions — the Tigers, who will almost certainly lose Jhonny Peralta — filled their imminent shortstop hole with Jose Iglesias from the Red Sox. That, combined with the news that baseball is not likely to suspend Bartolo Colon due to him already having been punished for taking the substances he received from Biogenesis means that only one team currently in the playoff hunt stands to lose a significant player. That being the Texas Rangers and Nelson Cruz, according to multiple reports. Other players named in multiple reports include the Padres’ Everth Cabrera, whose team is not in contention, and Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli, who is on the 60-day DL with a broken hand. Ryan Braun was suspended for the remainder of the season, but with his team far from contention, it’s unlikely the Brewers were going to do anything but sell anyways.

For another — and maybe I’m just imagining this — Major League Baseball appears to be settling on Friday as D-Day in the Biogenesis mess. Last night Jeff Passan of Yahoo! reported that the timeframe would be “within the next 72 hours” — a report that was later confirmed by multiple sources — as opposed to dropping their bomb at or around today’s 4 p.m. ET trade deadline. Maybe this is a matter of MLB still having work to do before issuing suspensions. Maybe it’s a matter of the league wanting to bury bad news on a Friday afternoon like politicians so often do. But maybe — just maybe — it’s a matter of MLB appreciating that the trade deadline chatter and commentary is pretty good for its brand and deciding to let that stuff have the limelight today.

The addition of a second wild card in each league also could be depressing trade activity, because teams are hesitant to sell while they still are in contention. Teams still need to sell tickets for the stretch run, and surrendering before August is no way to do that. Besides, there’s always the chance that a club goes on a late-season run.

MLB commended Braun for taking responsibility for his actions and said it wanted to resolve this issue, but otherwise has been publicly silent about the Biogenesis suspensions. Rodriguez’s attorney, David Cornwell, said in a radio interview this week that his client planned to fight the suspension.

“When the time comes and baseball does whatever it is going to do, then I will sit down with Alex and talk to him about the process of the appeal, filing the appeal and going in and presenting our best evidence that we have — and we think we have good evidence — to defend his interest, to protect him. That’s what I expect to be doing,” Cornwell told Stephen A. Smith, who was hosting the Michael Kay Show.

Rodriguez will always dominate the news, especially in New York. A-Rod would lead New York sports news for years even if he joined a religious sect that had him swear off sports, public appearances and money. He’s always the story in Gotham. But outside of that crazy media environment trades and playoff races seem to have been thrust to the fore last night and today.

Maybe Major League Baseball will fall back on old bad-P.R. habits and drop it’s bad news bombs after lunch today. But for now it seems pretty darn refreshing that we can focus on what’s truly good about baseball than what is, quite frankly, a major, major drag.

Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery could share Cubs’ rotation spot in 2017

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 01:  Mike Montgomery #38 of the Chicago Cubs throws a pitch during the seventh inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Six of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 1, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon hasn’t selected a fifth starter for his 2017 rotation yet, but told reporters that he could envision left-handers Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery sharing the spot throughout the year. Neither pitcher was stretched out to the full 200-inning threshold last year, Maddon added, and suggested that the two could alternate innings out of the rotation and bullpen as needed (via MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat).

Anderson, 29, was acquired by the Cubs in January on a $3.5 million deal. He’s coming off a rough 2016, during which he underwent back surgery and missed all but 11 1/3 innings of his last season with the Dodgers. His last full, healthy year in the majors yielded a 3.69 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 5.8 SO/9 over 180 1/3 innings with Los Angeles in 2015.

Montgomery, meanwhile, is vying for a rotation spot after pitching almost exclusively from the bullpen during the second half of the Cubs’ 2016 run. The 27-year-old lefty put up a 2.82 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings for Chicago last year, returning in the postseason to post a 3.14 ERA during the Cubs’ championship finish.

Maddon also mentioned the possibility of throwing a sixth starter into the mix, which would help prevent his other starters from getting overworked too early in the year. Either way, Anderson and Montgomery are expected to get a lot of looks early in spring training as rotation spots are finalized in the weeks leading up to Opening Day.

Michael Bourn to miss four weeks with a broken finger

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 6:  Michael Bourn #1 of the Baltimore Orioles looks out of the dugout as he waits to get on deck to bat during the sixth inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on September 6, 2016 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Orioles’ center fielder Michael Bourn is expected to be sidelined for four weeks while he rehabs a broken ring finger on his right hand, according to reports from the Baltimore Sun’s Peter Schmuck. Bourn broke the finger while playing catch with a football after a spring training workout.

The veteran outfielder re-signed with the club earlier this week on a minor league deal and was prepared to compete for a bench role this season. He’s in line to receive a $2 million salary if he makes the major league roster and can make an additional $3.5 million in incentives based on a set number of plate appearances. Now, however, his chances of cracking the roster out of spring training look considerably diminished, as his current timetable gives him an approximate return date of March 25 if all goes well.

Bourn had an impressive, if short-lived run with the Orioles following his trade to Baltimore last August, batting .283/.358/.435 with two home runs and a .793 OPS in 55 PA. While still somewhat removed from the totals that brought him an All-Star nod with the Braves in 2012, his defensive chops should give the Orioles some depth in center once he’s healthy again.