Carlos Gonzalez cleared for live batting practice

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Via beat writer Thomas Harding of MLB.com

Left fielder Carlos Gonzalez will take batting practice on the field Thursday and is pushing toward an injury rehab assignment after recovering from surgery to remove a tumor from his left index finger.

Rockies trainer Keith Dugger guessed on June 11 that CarGo would be out five weeks, so he’s right on schedule. The 28-year-old was batting just .255 with a .756 OPS before the surgery, but that relative lack of production can be blamed on the tumor in his finger, which had been bothering him for much of 2014.

Gonzalez hit .302/.367/.591 with 26 home runs, 70 RBI, and 21 stolen bases in 110 games last year.

When he returns, the Rockies’ starting outfield will likely be Gonzalez in left, Charlie Blackmon in center, and Corey Dickerson in right. Michael Cuddyer is out until August with a major shoulder injury.

Report: Orioles interested in Lance Lynn

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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.