Manny Machado cleared for lateral fielding work

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Manny Machado continues making steady progress in his recovery from October 14, 2013 knee surgery.

Danny Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that Machado took side-to-side soft-toss grounders on Wednesday afternoon in Orioles camp without experiencing any issues. It was his first time doing lateral-movement drills since going under the knife.

Machado also had a mole removed from his back on Wednesday. That procedure went according to plan.

The Orioles are still holding out hope that their 21-year-old third baseman will be ready for the opening of the 2014 regular season. Machado batted .283/.314/.432 with an American League-leading 51 doubles in 156 games last summer for Baltimore.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.