Manny Machado “has got a real chance” to be ready for Opening Day

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Initially when third baseman Manny Machado had knee surgery in October the Orioles indicated that they didn’t expect him back in time for Opening Day, but those plans have apparently changed a bit.

According to manager Buck Showalter that initial timetable was merely the team wanting to “put a real safe date on it” and now that Machado has progressed well in the early stages of his rehab “he’s got a real chance to make the start of the season.”

Showalter also told Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com that Machado would need to be healthy enough to play in spring training games by March 15 in order for the Orioles to consider activating him for Opening Day, so that’ll be the new timetable to track.

Rays trade Jake Odorizzi to Twins

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The Rays have traded right-hander Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, per team announcements on Saturday evening. The Twins will receive minor league shortstop Jermaine Palacios in the deal. Despite previous speculation, recently-DFA’d outfielder Corey Dickerson was not included in the trade.

With Odorizzi, the Twins finally have the front-end starter they’ve been seeking all winter. It’s a bargain deal as well, as the 27-year-old righty is under contract through 2019 and didn’t require the club to part with any of their top-shelf prospects in the trade. Odorizzi will be looking to stage a comeback in 2018 after a dismal performance with the Rays last year, during which he eked out a career-worst 4.14 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 through 143 1/3 innings.

Palacios, 21, ranked no. 27 in the Twins’ system last season. He split his year between Single-A Cedar Rapids and High-A Fort Myers, raking a combined .296/.333/.454 with 13 home runs and 20 stolen bases in 539 plate appearances. He’s expected to continue developing at shortstop, though he’s also seen limited time at second and third base during his four-year career in the minors.