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Ross in left field makes sense for Orioles

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Ross in left field makes sense for Orioles

Who would you rather have playing left field for the Orioles next season: Nate McLouth or Cody Ross?

In the euphoria surrounding the Orioles’ seemingly magical season, McLouth was one of the unlikely heroes. The leading hitter in the Division Series loss, McLouth played a solid left field, batted leadoff after Nick Markakis was hurt and stole bases.

Pretty impressive for someone who’d been stuck in Triple-A for two months. At 30, it appeared that McLouth was recapturing his All-Star ways of 2008.

The Orioles may think he’s not likely to repeat that performance. That’s why Cody Ross is suddenly in their sights.

Let’s forget the Josh Hamilton dreaming for now. If Hamilton’s price dropped dramatically in the next two months, then maybe he’s playing left field in 2013.

I don’t see that happening. I can’t see Dan Duquette, who’s often circumspect, going back on his vow to avoid big-ticket free agents.
The only way they sign Hamilton is to outbid everyone or wait until his asking price drops into their range.

I can’t imagine either happening.

I can see Ross in Baltimore. He’ll be 32 in December. On a horrible Red Sox team, Ross was a dependable player, batting .267 with 22 home runs and 81 RBIs.

Ross was marvelous for the San Francisco Giants in the 2010 postseason, hitting three home runs in the Giants’ six-game NLCS win over the Phillies.

The Orioles could have used his bat against the Yankees.

He strikes out a lot, but with Chris Davis and Mark Reynolds around, that doesn’t seem to faze the Orioles.

Ross would also fit in nicely in the Orioles clubhouse. A media go-to guy, Ross would be popular with the fans and his teammates.

At a reported three years and $25 million, that sounds like a possible Duquette deal to me.

Ross vs. McLouth? It’s probably Ross by a unanimous decision.

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

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USA TODAY Sports

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.