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.

The Cubs send Kyle Schwarber to the minors

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Kyle Schwarber broke into the bigs in 2015 with a big bat. After missing almost all of the last season with an injury, he reemerged as a postseason hero, posting a .971 OPS in the World Series. As 2017 began he was supposed to be one of the key parts of a potent Cubs offense.

Then the baseball games actually started and he has hit a mere .171/.295/.378. Indeed, he has the lowest batting average among qualified MLB hitters in 2017. Given that he has very little if any defensive value, he has been a significant drag on the Cubs, who are just a single game over .500.

Now this:

The Cubs are also putting Jason Heyward on the disabled list, so the outfield is a bit of a mess these days. Lucky for them, they’re only trailing the Brewers by a game and a half.

The A’s designate Stephen Vogt for assignment

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A surprising move out of Oakland: the Athletics have designated catcher Stephen Vogt for assignment.

Vogt is suffering through a bad season at the plate, hitting .217/.287/.357, so on the basis of pure performance it’s understandable that the A’s may want to part ways with the 32-year-old former All-Star. That said, Vogt is considered to be a leader in the Oakland clubhouse and is one of the last players remaining from the A’s 2013-14 playoff teams.

Catcher Bruce Maxwell has been recalled from Triple-A to take Vogt’s place on the roster. Main catching duties will belong to Josh Phegley.