Jon Lester hopes to begin throwing Thursday

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During a media session today for the American League All-Stars, Jon Lester told Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that he hopes to begin throwing when he rejoins the Red Sox on Thursday in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Lester was placed on the disabled list after leaving a start last Tuesday with a strained left lat muscle, but the southpaw said today that he hasn’t felt the injury over the past two days.

“It went from the day where I did anything it hurt, to where things got better, to the past two days I haven’t felt it. Now we have to make sure when I throw it doesn’t hurt. If it hurts when I throw we”re not getting anywhere. As long as it doesn’t hurt when I start throwing it should progress pretty quickly.”

As of now, Lester doesn’t think he will need a minor league rehab assignment, but it appears unlikely that he’ll be ready to return when he’s eligible next Friday.

Lester is 10-4 with a 3.31 ERA across 18 starts this season. He has a 110/40 K/BB ratio over 114 1/3 innings.

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.