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Machado experiment at short over for now, Hardy's back

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Machado experiment at short over for now, Hardy's back

NEW YORK – J.J. Hardy returns to the Orioles lineup after spending the past 15 days on the disabled list with a left groin injury. For now, that ends the Manny Machado experiment at shortstop. Machado played his first five major league games there while Hardy was out.

Manager Buck Showalter wasn’t surprised by what he saw with Machado at short.

“I don’t mean to sounds smug, but about what we thought. He’s capable there. I don’t think we’ve had a good enough complete feel. If you look at him and compare him to other shortstop around the league and compare him with other third basemen, I think there’s a bigger chasm than there is at shortstop,” Showalter said.

“He’s capable of doing both. Fortunately, we have J.J. and don’t have that need.”

RELATED: How long will Jones be out?

With Hardy in the lineup, the Orioles are 49-42. Without him, they’re 16-30.

“It doesn’t surprise anybody. He’s a good player and we’re a better team when he is playing. It kind of brings everything (together),” Showalter said.

“When you’ve got Manny (at third) and J.J. there (at shortstop), we match up pretty well with anybody…I think J.J.’s gonna finish strong offensively. He’s got a lot of nagging things that he finally got out of the way that’s been a challenge for him all year.”

Miguel Gonzalez will be eligible to return from the disabled list on Sept. 15. Gonzalez, who is on the disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis, won’t be ready to pitch next week, Showalter said.

“Hoping not too long after that,” Showalter said.

“First time yesterday, I was talking [to him] in the dugout, he felt he really made some strides there, where he didn’t feel day-to-day discomfort. So, that’s encouraging. Felt like, the shoulder would be the quickest and the elbow might be a little slow ‘because of the [cortisone] shot. I’m happy with his progress.”
With just 19 games remaining after Gonzalez could return, there won’t be many opportunities for him to pitch.

“I’m not holding to the fact, I’m just, I hold out hope that he -and it would be good for he and us- that he gets some starts under his belt. One, two, three or four. We are hoping he’s pitching in the playoffs and we win 15 in a row,” Showalter said.

NOTES: Showalter said that he wouldn’t guarantee that pitcher Oliver Drake and outfielder Junior Lake, who were sent to Norfolk after Monday’s game would return when the Tides are through with their playoff run.

“We’re always going to err on the side of helping the Baltimore club. Didn’t think they’d be playing and pitching here much and wanted to keep them active and contributing and continuing to develop. We’re still getting our arms around Junior. We want to keep him playing. He’s been in the big leagues. He doesn’t need to be exposed to the environment. Oliver has, too,” Showalter said.

-The Orioles will honor the U.S. champion Red Land Little League team before Saturday’s game. The Lewisberry, Pa. team lost to Japan in last month’s World Series Championship Game.

MORE ORIOLES: Orioles open 2016 season at home Apr. 4 against Twins

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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.

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

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USA Today Sports

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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