Faced with questions about his free agent plans next winter, Orioles shortstop Manny Machado mostly declined to offer much insight — and didn’t take the bait when asked about playing in New York. As Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun was among those to report, though, Machado did reiterate that he is only interested in signing as a shortstop, which is certainly notable given that he has just moved back to his accustomed position after lining up at third to this point in his MLB career. His decision to press for a return to short wasn’t about future financial considerations, Machado added. Rather, he says that’s “just where my heart is and has always been.”
Here’s more from Baltimore and the rest of the AL East:
- Orioles righty Alex Cobb is now planning to take another outing in extended spring training on Monday, as Meoli further reports. While there had been some suggestion he might be activated at the end of the weekend, it seems Cobb prefers to continue a measured build-up before going at full bore. The Baltimore rotation could use an early season shot in the arm, which is why Cobb was signed in the first place, though clearly there’s little sense in rushing him onto the mound with a long season (and three more seasons under contract) still ahead.
- The Yankees may be cool again, but they are dealing with some hip issues in the season’s early going. Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury is now slated to visit a specialist to address a problem that arose while he was already on the DL, as Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reports (Twitter links). And veteran lefty CC Sabathia is slated for an MRI on his right hip after leaving his start early today with some soreness. The Yankees aren’t yet in desperate straights from an injury perspective, but have already endured enough dents and dings that they have had to dip into much of their best depth options already. Starting pitching is perhaps the area the team can least afford to endure any major losses, though at this point there’s no reason at all to think Sabathia will miss time.
- While it wasn’t clear just how hard the Rays and Brendan McKay would push for the recent first-rounder to make it to the majors as a two-way player, that certainly seems to be the current intention. As Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes, though, plenty of uncertainty still remains. McKay impressed more on the hill than at the plate in his 2017 short-season debut, though as Topkin rightly notes, the real test will come in performing both functions in full-season ball. His dual developmental course has already required some attentive scheduling and — given that it is largely unprecedented — is likely to trigger some novel questions over the years to come. The piece is well worth a full read, not only for Rays fans but for anyone who’d like to learn more about this interesting experiment as it really gets underway.