Lowell says his knee is improving

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Mike Lowell told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that his left knee “felt great compared to yesterday.” Lowell was forced to leave Friday’s game after fouling a ball off his leg in his first at-bat.

“The swelling under the knee cap is annoying and I can’t flex my quad
(all the way), but it’s (swelling) a quarter of what it was yesterday.”

Even though the knee is improving, Lowell acknowledged that he will likely miss two three days before getting clearance to play again, greatly diminishing the already slim chance that the Red Sox will be able to trade him before the end of spring training.

Still, Lowell doesn’t see the disabled list as a possibility to start the season, saying “I don’t want to be on a phantom DL.” With just 10 at-bats this spring, it might not be so phantom.

Orioles “have begun fielding calls of interest” on Manny Machado

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports Thursday that the Orioles “are said to have begun fielding calls of interest” on superstar Manny Machado and “are close to the point of seriously weighing whether to trade him.”

You’d think it would be a no-brainer for the last-place O’s to flip Machado — an impending free agent — for prospects, but Heyman notes there is “still a question whether or not longtime Orioles owner Peter Angelos” will give the go-ahead. One person familiar with the situation put it a “50-50” likelihood. Another suggested that it would take a massive return, which, sure.

Machado entered play Thursday with a sensational .328/.405/.635 batting line, 15 home runs, and an MLB-leading 43 RBI in 49 games. It’d be a real shock if he’s still wearing an O’s uniform by the end of July.

Heyman reported previously that at least nine teams made aggressive plays for Machado this winter, including the Cubs, Phillies, Dodgers, Indians, Diamondbacks, Yankees, Red Sox, White Sox, and Cardinals. A whole lot of those teams still make sense here in late May — maybe all of them except the White Sox.