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Can Casilla start at second?


Can Casilla start at second?

Does Alexi Casilla have a chance to be the Orioles’ starting second baseman?

If Brian Roberts comes back for the fourth year of his contract, no.

If Robert Andino is around, it’s doubtful.

But, if neither Roberts nor Andino is on the team, Casilla could start.

One major league scout said that he rates Andino far over Casilla. He thinks of Casilla, who was claimed on waivers from the Minnesota Twins on Friday as strictly insurance.

There are good things about Casilla. He’s a switch-hitter, plays good defense and can run. The Orioles need a basestealer, and if Roberts isn’t back, it may be Casilla.

He stole 21 bases in 22 attempts, and in his career, has been thrown out just nine times in 80 tries.

The 28-year-old Casilla has played with the Twins since 2006. In 2012, the switch-hitter played a career-high 106 games, batting .241 with a home run and 30 RBIs.

Casilla made $1.368 million last season and will make more in 2013.
Andino made $1 million and after a poor season offensively will still get a raise. He could be non-tendered.

Roberts, Casilla, Andino. Ryan Flaherty and Omar Quintanilla are all currently on the 40-man roster though Quintanilla is expected to be removed soon.

That’s a lot of second base candidates. If a free agent makes economic sense, Dan Duquette could make an offer even if he does think the team has enough second basemen now.

ESPNBoston.com reported that Rick Peterson, the Orioles director of pitching development, is the leading candidate to be Red Sox pitching coach.

Peterson, who received high marks in his season with the Orioles for innovative work, is not expected to be directly replaced if he leaves.

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Orioles' Manny Machado leading all American League shortstops in All-Star Game votes


Orioles' Manny Machado leading all American League shortstops in All-Star Game votes

The Orioles' Manny Machado is the early leader among American League shortstops in the first results of All-Star voting released by Major League Baseball Tuesday.

Machado holds a lead of 110,131 votes over the Cleveland Indians' Francisco Lindor. 

No other Orioles' player is on the list, and Adam Jones isn't listed among the top-15 of outfielders. 

The Astros' Carlos Correa was last year’s starting shortstop for the American League, but is in fourth place with 206,707 votes, trailing the Yankees' Didi Gregorius who has 208,583.

The next AL voting update will be announced June 19.

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Zach Britton rejoins Orioles after stint on disabled list

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Zach Britton rejoins Orioles after stint on disabled list

BALTIMORE -- Baltimore Orioles left-hander Zach Britton has been activated from the disabled list, six months after undergoing surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Assuming he's finally healthy enough to resume his role as one of the best closers in the big leagues, the question now is: How long will Britton be with the Orioles?

Britton's contract expires after this season, and Baltimore entered play Monday with the worst record in the major leagues (19-45).

So, as he stood in front of his locker and spoke excitedly about his return to the Orioles, Britton conceded that his stay in Baltimore may not extend beyond the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

"I want to pitch well and help the team, regardless of our standing or trade discussions," he said.

Asked if the next few weeks might serve as an audition for other teams, Britton replied, "I guess so, but I'm not going to think of it like that."

Britton made the 2016 AL All-Star team during a season in which he converted all 47 of his save opportunities and compiled a 0.54 ERA in 69 appearances.

He fought forearm and knee injuries last season and had only 15 saves. Then, during the winter, he tore his right Achilles tendon during a workout.

"When I injured myself in December, I was just looking forward to walking again and running again and then to be able to pitch back in the big leagues," Britton said. "There were a lot of hurdles that I overcame."

Surgery and an intense rehab program under Orioles trainer Brian Ebel enabled the 30-year-old to return sooner than many anticipated.

"The thought that he's a pitcher for us on June 11, that's remarkable," manager Buck Showalter said. "He's checked every box to get ready. I don't know what else you could possibly do."

Although Britton will be pitching for a team that's struggled mightily this season, that won't influence the intensity he will bring to the mound.

"I had some injuries the last few years, so I'm looking forward to turning the page on that and just getting back to pitching well," he said. "Everyone in this clubhouse wants to do well at this level, and that's my focus."

To adjust the roster for Britton's return, the Orioles placed right-hander Pedro Araujo on the 10-day disabled list with a right elbow strain and moved outfielder Colby Rasmus to the 60-day DL.