UPDATE: Today’s excellent rehab outing was enough for Buchholz to secure his return to the majors. According to Tim Britton of the Providence Journal, his next start will be with the Red Sox. The exact date is still to be determined, but it will presumably be next week.
5:25 p.m. ET: Clay Buchholz struggled in his first minor-league rehab start last week, but fared much better this afternoon by tossing six shutout innings at Triple-A Pawtucket.
Buchholz, who’s on the disabled list with a hyperextended knee, allowed two hits and two walks while striking out five. Before being shut down he was terrible for the Red Sox, posting a 7.02 ERA in 10 starts after having a remarkable 2013 campaign that saw him go 12-1 with a 1.74 ERA in 16 starts.
There’s no word yet on if Buchholz’s performance today was enough to convince the Red Sox he’s ready to rejoin the rotation.
The Orioles singlehandedly kept the rumor mill churning this weekend. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the club is interested in making a play for free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, adding him to a list of potential candidates that also includes free agent righty Alex Cobb. The two are expected to command similar contracts in free agency, but Morosi notes that the Orioles may prefer Cobb based on his familiarity with the AL East.
Lynn, 30, is two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Despite missing the 2016 season, he bounced back with a respectable 11-8 record in 33 starts and complemented his efforts with a 3.43 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 over 186 1/3 innings for the 2017 Cardinals. He lost several days with a blister on his pitching hand in early September, but managed to avoid any major injuries and can reasonably be expected to shoulder another heavy workload in 2018.
Lynn may not be the Orioles’ first choice to beef up their starting rotation, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be in high demand as one of very few viable starters on the market this winter. The veteran righty rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Thursday and will likely be seeking a multi-year contract, one that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch estimates around five years and $100+ million. If the Orioles are willing to bite that bullet, they’ll still need to compensate the Cardinals with their third pick in next year’s draft.