Rays’ Alex Cobb fans 10 in two-hitter versus Marlins

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Two days after pitching a one-hitter, the Rays got a two-hitter in beating the Marlins, 3-0, on Sunday, with Alex Cobb striking out 10 in his seven innings of work.

Cobb gave up both hits, which were singles from Gaby Sanchez in the third and Greg Dobbs in the seventh. Joel Peralta and Fernando Rodney finished up from there. In all, Rays pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts today. Cobb’s 10 strikeouts were a career high.

Marlins hitters ended up striking out 39 times in the series against the Rays, though Miami did manage to take Saturday’s 15-inning thriller.

The Rays have now been involved in three one- or two-hitters in five days: they were on the wrong side of R.A. Dickey’s masterpiece in Wednesday’s loss to the Mets.

Orioles sign Alcides Escobar

Alcides Escobar
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The Orioles have inked shortstop Alcides Escobar to a minor league contract, MLB.com’s Joe Trezza reported Saturday. The deal comes with an invitation to spring training and will allow Escobar to earn $700,000 in the majors if he breaks camp with the team (via Jon Heyman of MLB Network). The team has yet to formally announce the agreement.

Escobar, 32, completed an eight-year run with the Royals in 2018. No longer the .280-average, 3.0-fWAR player of seasons past, he hit several career lows after batting .231/.279/.313 with four home runs, eight stolen bases (in 10 chances), and a .593 OPS through 531 plate appearances last year. His defensive ratings also took a hit, and FanGraphs pegged him as the fourth-worst shortstop in the majors after he accumulated -12 DRS over the course of the season, only slightly higher than the Orioles/Dodgers’ Manny Machado, Mets’ Amed Rosario, and Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts.

Still, Heyman holds that Escobar is being considered for the starting gig this spring and could yet prove an upgrade over top prospects and infield candidates Richie Martin and Drew Jackson. At the very least, the veteran shortstop figures to stabilize the position given Martin and Jackson’s relative inexperience, as both infielders played to varying results in Double-A Tulsa last year and have yet to break into the majors. Should either player earn consideration for the position in camp, however, Escobar might still work his way onto the Opening Day roster in a utility role as he saw some time at third base, second base, and center field in 2018.