Mariners have interest in free agent lefty Hong-Chih Kuo

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Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported last Sunday that free agent left-hander Hong-Chih Kuo was drawing interest from “three West Coast teams.”

We can now identify one of those clubs.

According to Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times, the Mariners have been “looking closely” at Kuo recently and could be moving toward an agreement.

Kuo surrendered 29 runs in 27 innings last season out of the Dodgers’ bullpen and has undergone five elbow surgeries in his career, but he posted a dominant 1.20 ERA and 73/18 K/BB ratio across 60 innings in 2010 and has held left-handed batters to a .205/.282/.318 batting line for his career. The 30-year-old southpaw might be worth the risk for Seattle and other clubs on a non-guaranteed minor league contract.

A.J. Hinch: “If it was any other time of the year, [José Altuve] wouldn’t be in the lineup.”

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It has been evident throughout the playoffs that Astros second baseman José Altuve’s right knee is bothering him. Altuve battled a right knee issue in July, then banged it up again in Game 2 of the ALDS and it’s been a problem ever since.

Manager A.J. Hinch said that if it were the regular season, he wouldn’t put Altuve in the lineup. Per MLB.com’s Richard Justice, the full quote:

He’s hurt. And if it was any other time of the year, he wouldn’t be in the lineup or wouldn’t be playing. He’d probably be on the DL. … But he’s showing up every day in good spirits, ready to go, giving 100 percent of what he’s got. He should be commended.

Hinch also said of Altuve, “His teammates revere him. The production that he’s doing on one leg is pretty incredible. And he’s trying not to talk about it. And therefore I am.”

During the ALCS, Altuve has hit .250/.368/.313 in 16 at-bats. He has just one extra-base hit but he has racked up three singles and drawn three walks while scoring four runs. Hinch has had Marwin González start at second base Games 3 and 4 and is doing so again on Thursday night in Game 5.