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Britton hurt as Orioles lose bizarre 8-7 game to Chicago

Britton hurt as Orioles lose bizarre 8-7 game to Chicago

BALTIMORE—On a bizarre night, where the Orioles nearly hit into a replay-induced triple play and saw their magnificent defense and bullpen cost them a game, their most critical reliever was forced to leave with a sprained left ankle. 

When Zach Britton tried to field a bunt from Chicago’s Adam Eaton, he injured his ankle, leaving the go-ahead run on base. Britton’s replacement, Vance Worley allowed the run to score, and the Orioles had suffered a deflating 8-7 loss to the White Sox before 29,152 at Oriole Park on Saturday night. 

Britton (1-1) wasn’t available to comment on his injury, but manager Buck Showalter was hopeful the injury wasn’t a serious one.

“We’ll see how it is tomorrow,” Showalter said. “He jammed it more than rolled it…The proverbial day to day. We’ll see what tomorrow brings. Zach’s always been a pretty quick healer, so we’ll see.”

If Britton is lost for any length of time, Darren O’Day would probably assume his role as closer. O’Day allowed three runs in the eighth inning to give Chicago (16-9) a 7-5 lead. 

The Orioles (14-9), who had their three-game winning streak snapped, tied the score at 7 in the bottom of the eighth.

Mychal Givens inherited a 5-3 lead and gave up a run in the seventh.

“Poor performance by the bullpen, myself obviously,” O’Day said. “It wasn’t good by us. I left a lot of pitches over the middle of the plate. When that happens, you’re going to give up hits.” 

Britton anchors a strong bullpen, but even without him, the Orioles still have O’Day, Givens, Brad Brach and Dylan Bundy.  

“I think Zach’s the best in the game, so it would be a tough period without him. We’ve got guys that have done the job before. So, yeah, it was a bad night, but if you look at the body of work we’ve put together, we have a lot of confidence. So we’ll figure something out,” O’Day said. 

In the bottom of the third, with the Orioles trailing 3-1. Hyun Soo Kim doubled down the right field line. Manny Machado reached on an infield single to short while Kim held. 

Jones grounded to third as Todd Frazier forced Kim at third and threw to second baseman Brett Lawrie to force Machado. 

Chicago manager Robin Ventura argued that Machado had interfered with Lawrie, and he couldn’t throw to first in an attempt to get Jones. 

After a delay of 3:29, the call stood, and the White Sox’s attempt at a triple play failed. Ventura was ejected after he disputed the decision.

“I didn’t have a whole lot of argument if they had overturned it, to be honest with you. If they had called him out at first,” Showalter said. 

“Manny just got a little over-aggressive. Where we got fortunate is they didn’t attempt to turn the ball over to first base and didn’t feel like it impacted the play, I guess.

The Orioles trailed by two because Machado and Jonathan Schoop each committed an error in the third, leading to two runs, but that was nearly forgotten by the ninth.

After Worley came in, he walked Carlos Sanchez and gave up an RBI single to Jose Abreu.

Showalter, whose team finished the month with nine wins in 11 games, bemoaned the cold, wet conditions the Orioles have faced at home. 

“We’ve been playing in this slop for a while,” Showalter said. 

Nate Jones (2-0) retired the final four Orioles for the win. 

The Orioles had 14 hits. Kim and Pedro Alvarez each had three. Alvarez had his first home run with the Orioles, and Kim watched his batting average reach .600. He’s 9-for-15. 

Machado, Chris Davis and Adam Jones each had two hits, and Schoop hit his fourth home run. 

Kevin Gausman left with a 4-3 lead. He allowed two earned runs on four hits in six innings in his second start of the season.

I obviously wanted to go back out there, but it’s a long season,” Gausman said. “Hopefully, next time out, I can do that. Right now, I respect [Showalter’s] opinion to take me out right there. I felt good. Once you go six innings, you don’t want to jump to seven right away. Getting through six was good.”

The Orioles touched Mat Latos, who entered the game with a dazzling 0.74 ERA, for four runs on 11 hits in five innings. 

NOTES: Joey Rickard didn’t start for the first time, but he came into the game as a defensive replacement for Trumbo in the eighth. … Chris Sale (5-0, 1.66) faces Ubaldo Jimenez (1-2, 3.91) on Sunday. 

 

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Baltimore Orioles add to their rotation, sign RHP Andrew Cashner

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USA Today Sports

Baltimore Orioles add to their rotation, sign RHP Andrew Cashner

SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Baltimore Orioles signed right-hander Andrew Cashner to a two-year, $16 million contract on Thursday after searching for starting pitching all offseason.

The 31-year-old Cashner is 42-64 with a 3.80 ERA in eight major league seasons with the Chicago Cubs, San Diego, Miami and Texas, including 11-11 with a 3.40 ERA for the Rangers last year. The deal with the Orioles has an option for 2020.

He'll join right-handers Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman in the rotation.

"I do know that they need some starting pitching, and here it is, show up every day and whoever I can help out, help out and my job is to come here and pitch and win," Cashner said.

Cashner's deal could be worth $41 million over three seasons if he pitches 200 innings annually. He gets a $3 million signing bonus, payable in equal installments each Jan. 15 from 2020 through 2021.

RELATED: VEGAS SETS OVER/UNDERS FOR 2018 MLB SEASON

Cashner has salaries of $5 million this season and $8 million in 2019, and there is a $10 million option for 2020 that would become guaranteed if he pitches 340 innings combined in the next two seasons. If he reaches 360 innings, it would become a player option.

He can make $5 million in performance bonuses each year.

There are $1,525,000 per season in bonuses based on starts: $250,000 each for 10 and 15, $625,000 for 20 and $400,000 for 30.

Cashner also can make $3,475,000 each year based on innings: $250,000 each for 110 and 120, $275,000 for 130, $350,000 for 140, $750,000 for 150 and $400,000 apiece for 170, 180, 190 and 200.

Cashner was at the Orioles' spring training facility, and was due to head to his Texas home for a few days before returning on Sunday when Baltimore's full squad is required to report. He'll likely work out with the team for the first time Monday.

He has little experience against the Orioles, but said he was excited to join the team.

"It's a lineup you can't really make a lot of mistakes against," Cashner said. "It's a lot of power in there, and I got to pitch (for) San Diego one year in Baltimore. Really cool stadium, really neat, a lot of history. It's one of my favorite places to pitch, so I'm looking forward to making that my home (stadium) every night."

RELATED: ORIOLES TO SHUFFLE UP INFIELD AHEAD OF MACHADO'S FINAL SEASON

Manager Buck Showalter said Cashner would be an ideal addition to the club.

"He's a veteran starter. That's a good deal for both us and him," Showalter said. "He's a guy who's pitched well in the American League. That's something that I think played in his favor."

Cashner said that he began negotiations with Orioles Vice President of Baseball Operations Brady Anderson last fall and in a challenging offseason for free agents, he said patience was vital.

"I don't think it's been difficult. It's been interesting. It's been different," Cashner said.

To make room for Cashner on the 40-man roster, Baltimore placed left-hander Zach Britton (Achilles) on the 60-day disabled list.

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Manny Machado to switch from third base to shortstop in final season with Orioles

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USA Today Sports

Manny Machado to switch from third base to shortstop in final season with Orioles

BALTIMORE -- Even if Manny Machado doesn't switch teams this season, he almost certainly will be changing his position in the infield.

Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Saturday that Machado will move from third base to shortstop this spring, and shortstop Tim Beckham will be shifted to third.

The shuffle will become permanent unless something goes wrong -- or Machado gets traded to another club.

"There could be some adjustments if we don't like the feel of it, but that's where we're going to head into it," Showalter said at FanFest, an annual offseason event designed to promote interest in the club.

Machado and second baseman Jonathan Schoop did not attend.

RELATED: TWO FORMER ORIOLES ELECTED TO HALL OF FAME

Machado becomes a free agent after this year and is sure to demand a huge contract. The Orioles have entertained trade offers for the 25-year-old, who's been an All-Star in three of his six seasons with Baltimore.

Dan Duquette, vice president of baseball operations for the Orioles, has to decide whether to deal Machado sometime between now and September or seek to sign him to a long-term deal.

"That's a big decision for the organization, obviously," Duquette said. "But we're planning on Manny being with the club. We explored all those options. We think the strongest option is for Manny to be on the ballclub."

Machado played in 156 games last season, offsetting a career-low .259 batting average with 33 home runs and 95 RBIs. He has averaged 35 home runs and 92 RBIs over the past three years.

Machado avoided arbitration this month by agreeing to a $16 million contract for 2018. He received $11.5 million last season.

Drafted as a shortstop as the third overall pick in 2010, Machado played third base with Baltimore next to slick-fielding J.J. Hardy, whose contract expired after last season.

So when they return to the field next month in Florida, the Orioles will have Machado at shortstop with Beckham on his left. Beckham came to Baltimore from Tampa Bay in July and played shortstop for the injured Hardy over the final two months.

"I think Tim would rather play shortstop, as Manny would," Showalter said. "Tim's big thing is getting an opportunity to play every day at one position. We need to settle both those guys into a spot and let them get into it."

Showalter said Machado was enthusiastic about the switch.

"All indications are, he's really excited about this," Showalter said. "I can't imagine him being in a better frame of mind or setup to do this. I think out of his respect for J.J. the past few years he's been very professional about it. But it's not like he's changing positions. He's going back to the position he's equipped to play."

RELATED: ZACH BRITTON TEARS ACHILLES

Deciding what to do with Machado is only one problem Duquette has faced this offseason. He's also been trying to fill out a starting rotation that currently consists of Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman and perhaps Miguel Castro, who made his first major league start on Sept. 30 after pitching in relief for 75 games over three seasons.

"Obviously we have work to do to address some of the deficiencies on our ballclub," Duquette said. "We're going to continue to build our pitching staff, most notably the starting pitching."

If Castro joins the rotation, the Orioles will be further pressed to fill out the back end of the bullpen. Closer Zach Britton tore his Achilles tendon during an offseason workout and will likely miss the entire 2018 season, leaving setup man Brad Brach the odds-on favorite to take over as the stopper.

"I'm hoping I get a shot to close. I'd be lying if I say I didn't," said Brach, who served significant time as a closer in 2017 while Britton was sidelined with elbow and knee issues.

Brach had 18 saves but blew six chances.

"I think I did all right," Brach said. "Hopefully, I get another chance to do it."