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Tolleson refuses outright assignment, looks for major league job

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Tolleson refuses outright assignment, looks for major league job

Buck Showalter really likes Steve Tolleson. He’s one of those players who reminds the Orioles manager of himself.

Showalter coached with Tolleson’s father, Wayne, in the New York Yankees organization. The elder Tolleson played 10 years in the major leagues.

At 29, Steve Tolleson has played just 54 games.

Tolleson was the ultimate good soldier with the Orioles last season with multiple trips between Baltimore and Norfolk. He made one round trip within a day.

He ended up playing 29 games with a .183 batting average, two home runs and six RBIs. Tolleson rejoined the Orioles on Sept. 1, rarely playing, but staying with the team through the postseason, though he wasn’t on the roster.

Tolleson’s chances for staying didn’t look strong, and when Alexi Casilla was acquired, he fell farther down the second base depth chart.

Already, there’s Brian Roberts, Casilla, Ryan Flaherty and Omar Quintanilla. There’s no room for five second basemen on the 40-man roster. As soon as Casilla was added, Tolleson was dropped and outrighted to Norfolk. He’s refused the assignment.

Tolleson will look around and see if there are any better opportunities for a hard-working, versatile player. He can play the other infield positions and the outfield, too.

If there aren’t any spots available, he could return and try to work his way back to the major leagues.

He’s a good guy who was fun to have around in 2012. Too bad he probably won’t be around in 2013.

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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.