Red Sox, O’s had scouts at Joe Blanton’s start Thursday

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From beat writer Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com comes word that the Red Sox and Orioles had scouts in the stands for Joe Blanton’s Grapefruit League outing Thursday against the Braves.

Blanton threw the ball well, allowing only four hits and no walks in five innings of work while striking out four Atlanta hitters. He has a 2.70 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in 10 total Grapefruit League frames.

The Blue Jays are also known to have interest in acquiring Blanton, who missed most of the 2011 season due to an elbow injury but entered camp this spring with a clean bill of health. He’s owed $8.5 million in 2012, but the Phillies are said to be open to eating about $2 million of that. Blanton will be a free agent in the winter.

Cubs to activate Craig Kimbrel on Thursday

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The Cubs will activate reliever Craig Kimbrel ahead of Thursday afternoon’s game against the Braves, Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic reports.

Kimbrel, 31, ended a seven-month stint in free agency, agreeing to a three-year, $43 million contract with the Cubs earlier this month. He has made four minor league appearances, allowing one earned run on two hits and a walk with four strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings.

With an aggregate 3.96 ERA entering Wednesday, the Cubs’ bullpen has been among the better bullpens in the league. Adding Kimbrel, one of the greatest closers of all-time, certainly can’t hurt and will give them some stability in save situations.