Edwin Encarnacion could begin a minor league rehab assignment this weekend

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Brett Lawrie is back on the disabled list once again, this time due to an oblique strain, but it’s not all bad news on the injury front for the Blue Jays.

According to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca, Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said this afternoon that slugger Edwin Encarnacion “may” begin a minor league rehab assignment this weekend. The 31-year-old has been sidelined since July 5 with a right quad strain and suffered a minor setback late last month, but Anthoupoulos expects him to rejoin the Blue Jays by the end of next week if all goes well. It’s even possible he could return a bit sooner. Good news.

Even though Encarnacion has missed a month, he still ranks third in the American League with 26 homers and ninth with 70 RBI. He’s batting .277/.368/.491 overall this season.

Report: Orioles interested in Alex Cobb

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MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the Orioles have interest in free agent right-hander Alex Cobb, who rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Rays earlier this week. Cobb was most recently linked to the Cubs, who reportedly reached out to his agent during the GM Meetings and garnered mutual interest from the righty, but nothing appears to be set in stone yet.

Cobb, 30, completed his sixth season with the Rays in 2017. He went 12-10 in 29 starts and turned in a respectable 3.66 ERA, 6.4 SO/9 and career-best 2.2 BB/9 in 179 1/3 innings. Despite losing a couple of weeks to turf toe, he remained healthy for most of the year and showed no signs of the elbow issues that robbed him of the majority of his 2015-2016 campaigns.

It’s still fairly early for any deals to come to fruition, but Morosi notes that the Orioles seem to be focused on bulking up their rotation during the first few months of the offseason. It’ll take more than a healthy Alex Cobb to right that ship, however: Orioles’ starters earned a collective 5.70 ERA and 5.5 fWAR in 2017, good for worst and fourth-worst marks in the league, respectively. Behind Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy (and perhaps Gabriel Ynoa/Miguel Castro), they still need three viable starters to compete in 2018. Whether or not they can afford to spring for a single starter with Cobb’s price tag (four years, $48 million, per MLB Trade Rumors) remains to be seen.