Quick Hits: Villanueva, Hammel, Cabrera, Hamilton

Orioles pitcher Jason Hammel is on the mend and set to return next month.  With that in mind, O's General Manager Dan Duquette doesn't seem terribly focused on adding a starting pitcher, tweets Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com.  Here's more from around baseball..

  • Blue Jays right-hander Carlos Villanueva hopes to stay in Toronto, but wants to do so as a starting pitcher, writes Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.  Villanueva avoided arbitration with a $2.2775MM deal this winter but would likely look for a significant pay bump as a starter.
  • This winter's free agent market figured to be light on heavy hitters anyway, but Melky Cabrera's situation means that the Rangers would have an even harder time replacing Josh Hamilton, writes Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com.  One Texas official cautiously predicted that the slugger would re-sign with the team, but we learned last week that Hamilton will wait until the offseason to negotiate.
  • It hasn't been a successful year for the Astros, but things could get worse upon their arrival in the American League West, writes Randy Harvey of the Houston Chronicle.
  • Speaking of the Astros, they released 2008 second-round pick Jay Austin earlier today (hat tip to Jayne Hansen of What The Heck, Bobby).  The 22-year-old outfielder never advanced beyond Advanced-A ball in his time with Houston.
  • Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine is staying upbeat in the face of the latest controversy surrounding him and the club, writes MLB.com's Ian Browne.  Adrian Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia were reportedly the most vocal in a meeting between the players and principal owners regarding Valentine.


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