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Alex Rodriguez reportedly expects to be in Yankees’ starting lineup on Monday in Chicago

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Alex Rodriguez will file an appeal to his expected suspension and will be in the Yankees’ starting lineup on Monday, according to a report by USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.

Rodriguez faces a ban through the 2014 season, which is expected to be announced by Major League Baseball on Monday, according to NBC Sports sources. Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, players with pending appeals are allowed to play until a verdict is rendered. The latest from Nightengale:

Alex Rodriguez will be suspended through at least the 2014 season in an announcement Monday by Major League Baseball, but the New York Yankees third baseman plans to file an appeal that will enable him to play that evening against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field, two people with direct knowledge of the plan told USA TODAY Sports.

There’s been talk of commissioner Bud Selig enacting a best-interest-of-MLB clause to prevent A-Rod from playing while he appeals his suspension, but Joel Sherman of the New York Post says Selig is unlikely to go through with that because he doesn’t want to get into a court battle the MLBPA.

A-Rod’s appeal will be heard by independent arbitrator Fredric Horowitz within the next three weeks. He one of several players who face punishment for their alleged involvement with Biogenesis, a shuttered Miami wellness clinic, and all of the suspensions are expected to be announced Monday, according to multiple reports. Ryan Braun in July accepted a suspension for the remainder of the season for receiving PEDs from the clinic.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi spoke openly about the situation before Sunday’s series finale against the Padres at Petco Park: “I think all of us are curious what’s going to happen, and is Alex going to be a player for us tomorrow, and what’s going to happen with the other guys that are involved in this. Because in my mind I have him penciled in here tomorrow. … I don’t suspect it’ll be awkward. Most of the guys know him as a teammate and have laughed a lot with Alex and been around Alex a lot. I think it’ll be business as usual.”

Rodriguez, 38, went 9-for-42 (.214/.333/.452) with three home runs and 10 RBI in 15 rehab games.

Yankees third basemen have hit .215/.273/.286 with four homers and 32 RBI in 109 games this year.

Angels ink Javy Guerra to minor league deal

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Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with right-handed reliever Javy Guerra. The deal includes an invitation to major league spring training.

Guerra was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball last July after testing positive for a drug of abuse. That suspension is now over, though Guerra is probably ticketed for the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate to begin the 2016 season.

The 30-year-old made just three major league appearances in 2015 for the White Sox before getting outrighted off Chicago’s 40-man roster. He does own a 2.87 ERA in 150 1/3 career innings, but it has come with bouts of inconsistency and unreliability.

Maybe he can get everything going in the right direction with Anaheim.

Braves sign reliever Carlos Torres

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As first reported by Bill Shanks of Fox Sports 1670, the Braves have signed right-handed reliever Carlos Torres to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Torres was waived by the Mets in January, somewhat surprisingly, and elected to become a free agent. The 33-year-old ultimately chose Atlanta, where he should have a good shot at an Opening Day roster out of spring training with the rapidly-rebuilding Braves.

Torres posted an ugly 4.68 ERA in 57 2/3 innings last season for the Mets, but he registered a gorgeous 3.06 ERA and 96 strikeouts across 97 innings in 2014.

If he gets off to a good start in 2016, he could become valuable trade bait.

Blue Jays will have a closer competition this spring

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Roberto Osuna became the youngest pitcher to ever play for the Blue Jays last season at age 20 and he rose to the challenge with a 2.58 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 75/16 K/BB ratio in 69 2/3 frames. Osuna eventually took over as Toronto’s closer, earning 20 regular-season saves and one in the American League Division Series — a five-out effort in Game 5 to close out the visiting Rangers.

But the Jays upgraded the back end of their bullpen this winter, acquiring Drew Storen from the Nationals in early January for speedy outfielder Ben Revere. Jesse Chavez was also brought to Toronto in a trade with the A’s.

Storen has more experience at closer than Osuna, and Storen struggled when the Nationals tried to put him in a setup role. Storen, in his final year of salary arbitration, also gets paid much more. He’s probably going to enter spring training as the favorite for the Jays’ ninth-inning gig, but there will be a competition …

Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins told Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca on Wednesday that he doesn’t expect the team to choose between Osuna or Storen until midway through spring training, if not later.

There’s been talk of making Osuna a starter, so add that wrinkle.

Storen, 28, boasts 95 career major league saves.

Orioles plotting late-offseason push? Gallardo, Fowler, Alvarez, Bruce in consideration

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Baltimore’s front office appears to be lining up a run of potential roster additions leading into the beginning of spring training.

We’ve already passed along the reports suggesting they are close to a three-year deal with free agent starter Yovani Gallardo, but now FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler could be next on the Orioles’ target list. It they get those two deals done, the O’s could then chase free agent slugger Pedro Alvarez.

Rosenthal says the Orioles are even eyeing Jay Bruce of the Reds, though the FOX reporter hears the O’s might not have the prospects to pull off that kind of trade.

The focus for the Orioles out of the gate this winter was re-signing Matt Wieters and Chris Davis. Wieters accepted his one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer in November and Davis was locked up to a seven-year, $161 million contract in mid-January.

Now the O’s are spending a little leftover cash on late-offseason additions to improve their position in what should be a tight 2016 American League East race.