Manny Machado

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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.

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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."

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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."

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Manny Machado hits two-run homer in bottom of the ninth to get win against Yankees

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USA TODAY Sports

Manny Machado hits two-run homer in bottom of the ninth to get win against Yankees

BALTIMORE -- Down to their last out against hard-throwing Dellin Betances and the New York Yankees, the Baltimore Orioles turned to a player who's got a knack for delivering in the clutch.

Manny Machado did not disappoint.

Again saving his best for last, Machado hit a two-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning for a 7-6 victory on Tuesday night.

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"This is a huge game us," said Mark Trumbo, who help fuel Baltimore's comeback from a five-run deficit. "This is the time of the year, if you're going to make a push, we need to do it now. It was a picture-perfect inning. You couldn't ask for anything more."

Betances (3-6) retired the first two batters in the ninth before Tim Beckham walked. Machado then drove a 1-0 pitch far over the center-field wall to provide the Orioles an unlikely victory after New York scored six runs in the third.

"He's a great hitter, obviously," Betances said of Machado. "When you leave a pitch like that to a guy like that, usually he'll punish it, and that's what he did tonight."

It was Machado's second homer of the game and team-high 32nd of the season. He has hit three game-winning home runs this season and five in his career.

"See ball, hit ball. Keep it simple," Machado said. "Keep it very simple and try to get a pitch you can hit."

Jonathan Schoop and Trumbo also went deep for the Orioles, who are in pursuit of a wild-card berth.

Zach Britton (2-0), Baltimore's sixth reliever, worked the ninth.

New York dropped 3 1/2 games behind Boston in the AL East but remains the top AL wild card.

The Yankees were poised to capture their first series at Camden Yards since September 2013, but now to do that they'll have to win Wednesday night in the deciding matchup of the three-game set.

New York starter CC Sabathia allowed five runs and eight hits over 5 1/3 innings. He left with the lead, but was betrayed by the bullpen in his bid to earn his first victory in seven starts against Baltimore since May 2016.

"It was just one of those nights where when we made mistakes, they didn't miss them," Sabathia said.

The start of the game was delayed by rain for 2 hours, 14 minutes. A good portion of the announced crowd of 14,377 stuck around, and for the Orioles fans it proved worth the wait.

New York seemingly took control in the third inning against Jeremy Hellickson. After Didi Gregorius singled in two runs, the Yankees loaded the bases for Greg Bird, who hit a fly to center. The ball plopped in and out of Adam Jones' glove , allowing a run to score, and two batters later Jacoby Ellsbury singled in two unearned runs.

"It's unfortunate we weren't able to add on," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We had some chances and the long ball hurt us tonight. They had four of them."

Hellickson gave up five runs, three earned, and only two hits. But he walked four and hit a batter.

Schoop hit a solo homer in the fifth and Trumbo got Baltimore to 6-5 in the sixth with a two-run drive.

"We chipped away, we chipped away," Trumbo said. "We had our chance there at the end and it worked out."

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Dylan Bundy throws a one-hitter to extend Orioles' winning streak

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USA TODAY Sports

Dylan Bundy throws a one-hitter to extend Orioles' winning streak

BALTIMORE -- Dylan Bundy threw a one-hitter for his first career shutout, Manny Machado hit two of Baltimore's four solo homers, and the Orioles extended their winning streak to six games with a 4-0 victory over Seattle on Tuesday night.

Bundy (13-8) allowed just an infield single to Kyle Seager in the fourth inning and set a career high with 12 strikeouts. The right-hander has a 2.00 ERA in August and has struck out 10 or more in three of his last four starts.

Jonathan Schoop and Welington Castillo also went deep for the Orioles, who moved two games over .500 for the first time since June 10.

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Baltimore has outscored its opponents 44-17 during the winning streak. The Orioles also moved 1 games ahead of the Mariners in the AL wild-card race. Minnesota currently holds the second wild-card slot.

Schoop collected his 29th homer of the season and 500th career hit with a solo shot in the first off Erasmo Ramirez (5-5).

Schoop's blast moved him ahead of Machado for the team lead, but not for long. Machado hit his 29th homer in the sixth and reached 30 homers for the third consecutive season with his drive in the eighth off Casey Lawrence.

Bundy, who threw 116 pitches, struck out Danny Valencia for the fourth time to finish off his first career complete game.

In his fifth start since being acquired from Tampa Bay on July 28, Ramirez allowed two runs and five hits over six innings.

Castillo led off the seventh with a homer off James Pazos.

The start of the game was delayed 32 minutes because of rain.