Curt Schilling diagnosed with cancer

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Former major league All-Star Curt Schilling revealed Wednesday that he has been diagnosed with cancer.

“I’ve always believed life is about embracing the gifts and rising up to meet the challenges,” the 47-year-old said in a statement. “We’ve been presented with another challenge, as I’ve recently been diagnosed with cancer. Shonda and I want to send a sincere thank you and our appreciation to those who have called and sent prayers, and we ask that if you are so inclined, to keep the Schilling family in your prayers.”

Through an ESPN spokesman, Schilling declined to say what type of cancer he’s battling.

Schilling won 216 games, was a three-time Cy Young runner up and won three world championships before retiring at the age of 40 in 2007. He’s been eligible for the Hall of Fame the last two years, receiving 39 percent of the vote in 2013 and 29 percent on this year’s overstuffed ballot. Since retirement, he made news by starting a video game company that later went bankrupt, leading to a lawsuit against him by the state of Rhode Island. He’s recently done studio work for ESPN on Baseball Tonight, and he had been slated to join the network’s broadcast booth for Sunday Night Baseball this season.

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.