Cubs activate Darwin Barney from disabled list

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Darwin Barney is back from the disabled list after missing the first two weeks with a lacerated knee, starting at second base and batting seventh for the Cubs tonight against the Rangers.

Barney suffered the injury during the final spring training game, so the Cubs turned to Alberto Gonzalez and Brent Lillibridge in a time-share at second base. They combined to hit .194 in Barney’s absence.

Lillibridge won’t stick around in a bench role, because as part of several moves today the Cubs designated him for assignment and claimed Cody Ransom off waivers.

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.