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Britton feels great improvement, says he's ready

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Britton feels great improvement, says he's ready

BOSTON – Zach Britton hasn’t pitched since Sunday in Tampa Bay, and watched as Darren O’Day closed out three straight games in Washington.

Britton tossed in the outfield, and then moved to the bullpen to work there. After he was done, Britton reported that his left lat muscle was better.

“I tried to let some go and simulate a game or a situation, but it's obviously impossible to do that. But it felt great,” Britton said.

“I think we jumped over every hurdle to see if I was game-ready, and I’m right there.”

Manager Buck Showalter, pitching coach Dave Wallace and bullpen coach Dom Chiti have to decide on what’s next for Britton.

“When you're starting you've got to build up for five innings. For me, an inning or two. I think a better understanding of what it really is or how it's going to feel just by throwing in the bullpen. I don't know if we expected to actually throw in the bullpen today, so that was really good. Maybe that gets me back soon,” Britton said.

Britton probably won’t be available on Friday night.

“I think tomorrow is probably more realistic, but it felt good enough where tonight could be an option if there's a need,” Britton said.

He enjoyed watching O’Day’s success.

“I kind of picked a tough time for you.’ [With him going] three days in a row, it would definitely be nice to get back out there so we can kind of save the guys in the pen,” Britton said.

“Darren and Brad [Brach] have been throwing well all year. You put them in the eighth, ninth inning, seventh inning, whatever, they’re going to do the same job they’ve been doing all year. Darren, he could be closing for a lot of teams and I think everyone’s seeing that now. But it didn’t surprise me at all that he went out there and shut that lineup down. It’s nice when you have that option to let me take a break when I need it and I appreciate those guys picking me up.”

O’Day is a free agent after this season, and he could be closing for some teams.

“He’s been throwing so well this year, even better than last year and last year was a pretty impressive year for him, so I’m happy for him, and hope we can keep him,” Britton said.

“I mean, three days off, felt like a week. I can’t remember the last time I had three days off, but now. Once you get off the mound, it’s kind like riding a bike. Once you get a feel for the first few. I was getting a little antsy charting the last couple of games. Excited to get back.”

MORE ORIOLES: Showalter comfortable with Papelbon suspension

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American League All-Star Game Roster Projection: AL will be loaded once again

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American League All-Star Game Roster Projection: AL will be loaded once again

The 2018 Major League All-Star Game is less than a month away. Fan votes are well underway and early frontrunners are close to locking their position in the Midsummer Classic.

Yesterday, we projected how the National League roster will play out. Today it is time to look at the American League roster projection.

For five straight seasons, the AL has had the upper hand in the MLB All-Star Game. In 2018, it does not appear that will change as the American League roster will be loaded from top to bottom.

As a reminder, here is how the process shakes out, first with the fan vote, players’ ballots, and the MLB Commissioner’s Office:

  • Fan vote: nine position players in AL (DH)/ eight in NL; plus final vote for each league
  • Player’s ballots: next 17 players in AL/ 16 players in NL; (five starting pitchers, three relievers must be chosen)
  • MLB Commissioner’s Office: five AL players (four pitchers, one position player) and seven NL players (four pitchers, three position players)

One player from each team must make the initial roster (before injury withdraws, etc.). Below is how it looks the American League roster will play out, considering the latest fan vote returns:

American League All-Star Roster Projection:

C – Wilson Ramos, Rays (Fan Vote), Gary Sánchez, Yankees (Player Ballot)
1B – José Abreu, White Sox (Fan Vote), Joey Gallo, Rangers (Player Ballot)
2B – Jose Altuve, Astros (Fan Vote), Jed Lowrie, Athletics (Player Ballot)
3B – José Ramírez, Indians (Fan Vote), Yangervis Solarte, Blue Jays (Player Ballot), Mike Moustakas, Royals (Commissioner’s Office)
SS – Manny Machado, Orioles (Fan Vote), Jean Segura, Mariners (Player Ballot),
OF – Mookie Betts, Red Sox (Fan Vote), Mike Trout, Angels (Fan Vote), Aaron Judge, Yankees (Fan Vote), Michael Brantley, Indians (Player Ballot), Eddie Rosario, Twins (Player Ballot), Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees (Player Ballot),
DH – J.D. Martinez, Red Sox (Fan Vote), Shohei Ohtani, Angels (Player Ballot)

SP – Justin Verlander, Astros (Player Ballot), Luis Severino, Yankees (Player Ballot), Corey Kluber, Indians (Player Ballot), Chris Sale, Red Sox (Player Ballot), Gerrit Cole, Astros (Player Ballot), Blake Snell, Tampa Bay (Commissioner’s Office)

RP – Edwin Díaz, Mariners (Player Ballot), Craig Kimbrel, Red Sox (Player Ballot), Aroldis Chapman, Yankees (Player Ballot), Joe Jiménez, Tigers (Commissioner’s Office), Delin Betances, Yankees (Commissioner’s Office), Chris Devenski, Astros (Commissioner’s Office)

Manager: Jeff Luhnow, Astros

Based on this projection, the New York Yankees will have the most representatives with six. The Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox will both have four.

Ensuring no snubs, there will be five players selected for the final fan vote to get one more All-Star into the game for a total of 32 for the American League. As you can see, no matter how the AL roster plays out, it will be a dominant team once again as they look for six straight All-Star wins.

Four of those five wins were inside a National League stadium and that will not change as the Washington Nationals will host this season.

MORE ALL-STAR NEWS:

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2018 MLB All-Star Game voting update: Manny Machado maintains big lead among A.L. shortstops

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2018 MLB All-Star Game voting update: Manny Machado maintains big lead among A.L. shortstops

Baltimore Orioles’ Manny Machado took an even larger lead in the latest update for 2018 MLB All-Star Game voting.

The superstar shortstop maintained his position at the top of American League shortstops in the second round of All-Star voting updates, released Tuesday morning. 

After the first ballot was released, Machado led the shortstops category by over 100,00 votes.

This week, he now holds north of a 200,000-vote lead over last year’s American League starter, Carlos Correa.

The Astros’ Correa jumped from fourth to second this past week while the Indians’ Francisco Lindor dropped to third.  

Machado now has 671,133 votes, seventh among all American League players. For the second straight week, Machado remained the only Orioles player on the list.

Through 69 games in 2018, Machado is batting .310 with 18 home runs, 15 doubles and 53 RBIs. He is posting his best OPS (.945) and on-base percentage (.377) in his career, a bright spot for the O’s, who sit dead last in MLB with a 20-50 record.

The All-Star voting will be open until July 5 at 11:59 p.m. ET and fans can vote five times every 24 hours.

The next AL voting update will be announced June 26.

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