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Wieters has no second thoughts about qualifying offer from Orioles

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Wieters has no second thoughts about qualifying offer from Orioles

BALTIMORE –- Matt Wieters isn’t surprised to be back with the Orioles. Surprisingly to others, Wieters took the $15.8 million qualifying offer, and he’ll return to the Orioles for the 2016 season.

“If you asked me going into the offseason, always hoped to be back, didn’t know what the decision was going to be, very grateful that I was able to make a decision seven days after the season and take a little bit of stress off the offseason,” Wieters said at Saturday’s FanFest.

Now, Wieters can be a free agent again after next season, when he’ll be more than two years removed from Tommy John surgery.

“We’ll worry about next offseason, next offseason, but excited to be two years removed from surgery,” Wieters said. “Hopefully [to] be able to play as many games as possible.”

Wieters was warmly greeted by the fans, he said.

“I was not a Baltimore Oriole for all of seven days and got a lot of ‘welcome backs,’” Wieters said.

He said the decision to be among the first to accept the qualifying offer in its fourth season was not a difficult one.

“What’s wrong with being back in Baltimore where we’ve been for seven years?” Wieters said.

“Once I got the idea out of my head where free agency is so great, which it is, it’s great for players, but at the same time, what’s the best situation for me and my family.”

When he sees how much money has been paid to free agents, he still doesn’t question his decision.

“I’m not getting paid too poorly for this year,” Wieters joked.

Because Wieters is coming back and anticipating catching a full schedule, Caleb Joseph won’t catch as often. Wieters and Joseph are close friends, and the veteran didn’t want to hurt Joseph’s feelings.

“I actually called him before and asked him if he was OK. I called him because I wanted to let him know that me coming back doesn’t mean I didn’t think he was a capable everyday big league catcher,” Joseph said.

Wieters recently visited with Davis, but didn’t try to convince him to return here.

“As players, we selfishly want him back, and at the same time, we want him to have what he wants for his family and set him up well,” Wieters said.

MORE ORIOLES: Jones says Orioles management have listened

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

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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.