Shaun Marcum ruled out through the All-Star break

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The last time we checked in on Shaun Marcum, he was still experiencing some soreness in his throwing elbow while playing catch. Things haven’t improved over the past few days.

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke told Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this afternoon that Marcum will be sidelined through the All-Star break. The 30-year-old right-hander has been playing catch on a daily basis to gauge his progress, but the team simply hasn’t seen enough improvement in his symptoms.

“Threw again today; still felt it,” Roenicke said. “A little better, but still felt it. I don’t think he’ll make a start before the all-star break. I don’t think there’s any way we can do that.

“But hopefully we get him to where he’s confident that he can go out there and throw the ball and not feel anything. That’s where we’re trying to get to.”

Marcum previously underwent Tommy John surgery back in 2008 and missed the entire 2009 season, but two MRIs have ruled out any new damage to the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. For now, the Brewers will just have to hope that the soreness subsides with rest.

Marcum, who is due to become a free agent this winter, has a 3.39 ERA and 77/26 K/BB ratio in 82 1/3 innings across 13 starts this season. Marco Estrada and rookie Michael Fiers will continue to get starts during his absence.

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.