Alex Rodriguez AP

Report: Alex Rodriguez decision “imminent,” ruling appears “favorable” for MLB

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UPDATE: Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that Horowitz is expected to rule on Rodriguez’s 211-game suspension today. Stay tuned.

11:35 a.m. ET: When yesterday passed without a ruling on Alex Rodriguez’s 211-game suspension, the assumption was that we likely wouldn’t hear anything from arbitrator Fredric Horowitz until Monday at the earliest. As Ronald Blum of the Associated Press hears, that might not necessarily be the case:

People familiar with the case told The Associated Press on Friday that arbitrator Fredric Horowitz could issue his decision this weekend. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because no statements were authorized.

So, basically, a ruling could come down this weekend. Or it might not. Fun times.

While Steven Marcus of New York Newsday also hears that a decision from Horowitz is imminent, he adds the following interesting nugget:

Rodriguez has previously vowed to fight any suspension from MLB in federal court, but he could face long odds to have his case heard or walk away vindicated. With that in mind, Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York reported Thursday that he has discussed the possibility of accepting a reduced suspension (less than 100 games) to put the matter behind him. However, if Horowitz sides with MLB and upholds the suspension in-full or close to it, the fight figures to continue.

Rodriguez, 38, is under contract for $25 million in 2014. With a pursuit of Masahiro Tanaka underway, the Yankees would obviously appreciate some clarity on the situation as they attempt to keep their payroll under the much-discussed $189 million threshold.

Twins’ minor league pitcher Landa dies in Venezuela

FORT MYERS, FL - MARCH 05:  Yorman Landa #81 of the Minnesota Twins makes a throw to first base during the fourth inning of a spring training game against the Baltimore Orioles at Hammond Stadium on March 5, 2016 in Fort Myers, Florida.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins say minor league pitcher Yorman Landa has died in Venezuela. He was 22.

The club said in a statement that the Twins are “deeply saddened by the heartbreaking loss.” The team did not say how he died.

Landa pitched in the 2016 season with the Fort Meyers Miracle, going 2-2 with 7 saves and a 3.24 ERA in 41 2/3 innings pitched. His career minor-league ERA was 2.66.

Landa had been on the Twins’ 40-man roster, but was dropped after the season. The organization signed him to a minor-league contract last week.

Landa was signed by the Twins in 2010 as a 16-year old from Santa Teresa, Venezuela.

Orioles are eying Welington Castillo as their primary catcher target

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 25: Welington Castillo #7 of the Arizona Diamondbacks warms up prior to taking an at bat against the Baltimore Orioles in the second inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 25, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
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A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.

Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.

For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.