The Royals and Blue Jays discussed a Billy Butler trade

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Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail is reporting that the Royals and Blue Jays have discussed a trade involving first baseman-slash-DH Billy Butler. He clarifies that there has been no movement on a deal beyond the initial discussions, and adds that the Jays would receive prospects along with Butler in such a deal.

It’s no surprise that the Royals are making Butler available. He is entering what may be the final year of his contract, earning $8 million. The Royals have a club option worth $12.5 million, and Butler can tack on another $2 million based on performance incentives. Butler is only 27 years old and has a career .823 OPS so he will likely fetch a hefty contract once he hits the open market.

Dealing for Butler may first require the Jays to get rid of Adam Lind. Lind is 30 years old and will earn $7 million in 2014. His contract includes two club options for 2015 and ’16 worth $7.5 and $8 million, respectively. Lind had a bounce-back 2013 campaign after three seasons of mediocrity.

Dallas Keuchel to return to Astros’ rotation on Friday

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Astros manager A.J. Hinch told the media, including MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart, that starter Dallas Keuchel will come off of the disabled list and rejoin the rotation on Friday against the Tigers. Keuchel has missed nearly two months with a neck injury.

Prior to landing on the DL, Keuchel was 9-0 with a 1.67 ERA and a 69/18 K/BB ratio over 75 2/3 innings. He seemed to be on his way to potentially win another Cy Young Award.

Hinch also noted that Collin McHugh will start on Saturday and Lance McCullers will start on Sunday.

Video: Ketel Marte hits an inside-the-park home run

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Braves starter Aaron Blair had a nightmarish bottom of the third inning on Wednesday afternoon against the Diamondbacks. He had just given up a run on a Daniel Descalso triple hit to center field that center fielder Ender Inciarte read poorly. In the following at-bat, Ketel Marte laced a curve ball to right field. Sean Rodriguez wasn’t able to get to it in time, so the ball bounced off the fence and caromed back towards the stands along the right field line. By the time Rodriguez was able to retrieve the ball, Marte was already on his way home and scored standing up.

The inside-the-park homer will certainly provide a boost to Marte’s stats. He entered Wednesday’s action batting .196/.255/.370 in 51 plate appearances.