Orioles @ Mariners lineups and pregame notes

The O’s are shuffling their rotation next week, pushing Wei-Yin Chen back a day to Friday and having Bud Norris pitch Thursday against the Angels. Monday’s off day allows them to do that and Chen –who will face Seattle again– is coming off of one of his best outings of the year. Also, Norris has really good career numbers against the Angels.

One of the team’s relievers will leave on Monday morning to go see an ill family member and manager Buck Showalter –who didn’t want to specify who it was– wasn’t sure if the team would use the bereavement list or not. If they do, he’d have to stay on it for a minimum of three days.

ORIOLES LINEUP
Nick Markakis RF
Steve Pearce LF
Adam Jones CF
Nelson Cruz DH
Chris Davis 1B
J.J. Hardy SS
Manny Machado 3B
Caleb Joseph C
Jonathan Schoop 2B

Miguel Gonzalez RHP

MARINERS LINEUP
James Jones CF
Dustin Ackley LF
Robinson Cano 2B
Kendrys Morales DH
Kyle Seager 3B
Corey Hart RF
Logan Morrison 1B
Mike Zunino C
Chris Taylor SS

Roenis Elias LHP

Orioles @ Mariners lineups and pregame notes

Manny Machado has returned to the Orioles lineup after missing four games with low back spasms. Manager Buck Showalter said he almost used him last night.

Showalter was pretty cryptic regarding the team’s upcoming pitching rotation, saying that the Orioles could do a few “interesting” things depending on what happens in today’s game. I don’t think he’s talking about a trade in the works, but rather some roster manipulation.

Miguel Gonzalez is slated to start, but the O’s could use Monday’s off day to their advantage by lining up certain guys next week when they host the Angels and Mariners. They could also use lefty T.J. McFarland on Sunday if need be. That would depend on if he’s used today and if lefty Brian Matusz is available. Stay tuned.

ORIOLES LINEUP
Nick Markakis RF
Delmon Young DH
Adam Jones CF
Nelson Cruz LF
Chris Davis 1B
J.J. Hardy SS
Manny Machado 3B
Ryan Flaherty 2B
Nick Hundley C

Bud Norris RHP

MARINERS LINEUP

James Jones CF
Dustin Ackley LF
Robinson Cano 2B
Kendrys Morales DH
Kyle Seager 3B
Corey Hart RF
Logan Morrison 1B
Brad Miller SS
Jesus Sucre C

Chris Young RHP

Endy Chavez RF
James Jones CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Kendrys Morales DH
Kyle Seager 3B
Dustin Ackley LF
Logan Morrison 1B
Brad Miller SS
Jesus Sucre C

Chris Young RHP

Orioles @ Mariners Game 2, still no Machado

Manny Machado was not in Friday’s lineup for the fourth consecutive game, but the third baseman has improved enough to be an available bench player.

“I could use him if I had to,” manager Buck Showalter said of Machado, who has been sidelined with back spasms. “With the day game tomorrow and the quick turnaround, he’s a lot better. He’s very close…I think you will see him start Saturday or Sunday.”

Machado agreed that returning this weekend is still the goal and the 22-year-old came through pre game batting practice and infield Thursday with no issues. He’s just waiting to be 100 percent so that this issue doesn’t linger.

“The pain is getting less and less everyday, we are just trying to be pain free before I get out there,” Machado said. “Also, we are trying to not get in a situation we don’t want to be in, which is go out there and get hurt again, which would push us back further along. So, we are going to treat it while it’s going well. It’s going well, so we are going to keep treating it and try to get it 100 percent and try to help the team.”

Machado said his back has responded well to the rest and treatment and the Orioles are trying to get in front of the injury —which he called “an annoying feel” — so he can play out the season.

“I want to eliminate it so it’s not an issue at any other point this season,” said Showalter, who has been using Ryan Flaherty at third base in Machado’s absence.

ORIOLES LINEUP
Nick Markakis RF
Steve Pearce LF
Adam Jones CF
Nelson Cruz DH
Chris Davis 1B
J.J. Hardy SS
Ryan Flaherty 3B
Caleb Joseph C
Jonathan Schoop 2B

Kevin Gausman RHP

MARINERS LINEUP
Endy Chavez RF
James Jones CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Kendrys Morales DH
Kyle Seager 3B
Dustin Ackley LF
Logan Morrison 1B
Mike Zunino C
Brad Miller SS

Felix Hernandez RHP

Could Johnson return to Baltimore?

SEATTLE—Could Jim Johnson make a return to Baltimore?

“That’s completely in Oakland’s hands now,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Johnson, who was designated for assignment by the A’s on Thursday afternoon. “They have nine or 10 days to trade him and I’m sure there will be some people that have interest in Jimmy. See what it takes. I’m sure that will play out most of the time unless Billy [Beane] gets a deal he likes.”

If they don’t find a suitable deal, Oakland could also place the struggling Johnson on waivers or release him during that 10-day timeframe. Relieved of his ninth-inning duties just two weeks into the season, Johnson has a Major League-worst 6.92 ERA —along with a $10 million salary— and should be able to easily clear waivers, which would likely result in his release. He has enough service time to decline a Minor League assignment, which could make him a free agent. And the O’s were heavily rumored recently to have interest in a Johnson reunion, engaging in talks with the A’s while the right-hander was still on their roster.

Showalter, who has kept in contact with Johnson this season said he considers him a friend and it was tough to witness Johnson’s struggles from afar.

“It was painful to watch because we all think so much of Jimmy as a person,” Showalter said of Johnson, who saved 101 games for Baltimore in the previous two seasons. “He did some good things for us.”

Johnson was an All-Star for the O’s in 2012 and a huge part of the organization making the playoffs that year. Showalter believes he can still turn things around despite the disappointing start to 2014.

“It’s such a snowball, at this level, at any sports. Things snowball,” he said. “You are never quite as good as periods are and you are never as bad as periods are. He will end up in a good place and it will work out. He’s got too much ability.”

Orioles @ Mariners, Machado still out

Greetings from Safeco Field, where after a hectic travel schedule this morning, I made it to Seattle this afternoon. The Orioles are 3-3 heading into this four-game set with the Mariners to finish off a three-city West Coast trip.

*Manny Machado is sidelined for the third consecutive Orioles game Thursday but the third baseman said that his back is getting better and better and is hoping to play during the four-game series against the Mariners.

“It’s definitely gotten better,” said Machado, who was a late scratch on Tuesday with low back spasms suffering during his final round of pre game batting practice. “It’s something that’s just an annoying pain. It’s definitely gotten down to a pinpoint pain now. We will see how it feels the next couple days.”

Machado, who has been resting and getting treatment, planned on taking BP and fielding ground balls on Thursday and will take it from there. He said the pain has gone down and the 22-year-old is just waiting for the last bit of discomfort to clear out before returning.

In his absence, the Orioles have used Ryan Flaherty at third base.

ORIOLES LINEUP
Nick Markakis RF
Delmon Young DH
Adam Jones CF
Nelson Cruz LF
Chris Davis 1B
J.J. Hardy SS
Jonathan Schoop 2B
Ryan Flaherty 3B
Caleb Joseph C
Wei-Yin CHen LHP

MARINERS LINEUP
James Jones CF
Stefen Romero RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Corey Hart 1B
Kyle Seager 3B
Jesus Montero DH
Dustin Ackley LF
Mike Zunino C
Chris Taylor SS

Hisahi Iwakuma RHP

Machado better, hoping to return soon

Orioles third baseman Manny Machado was out of the starting lineup again on Wednesday night, as he’s still dealing with some back spasms that first crept up during Tuesday’s pre game batting practice.

Machado, who was a late scratch on Tuesday, said he was encouraged with the fact that he felt better and was optimistic he would only be sidelined a couple days.

“I was kind of bummed out by it last night,” he said. “When I woke up, it felt a little better and I came in here and got some treatment and I’m feeling much better. I assume that’s a good sign for that . We’re just going to feed off that and keep going.”

The plan for Machado on Wednesday was to get treatment and see how his back progressed, with nothing definitive on him trying to swing or take some grounders.

“It’s a lot better than it being the same or worse,” Showalter said of Machado making some progress. “I look for him to be back shortly, depending on how you define the word shortly.”

In Machado’s absence, Ryan Flaherty has been at third base for the O’s.

Orioles @ Angels lineups, Machado still out

Manny Machado, who was a late scratch from Tuesday’s lineup is still out with back spasms although he said today he’s feeling better. Machado was encouraged with the fact that he woke up this morning feeling better and is fairly confident it’s just a couple days type of injury. He wasn’t sure what the plan would be bedsides treatment today.

Ubaldo Jimenez threw a 35-pitch bullpen session this afternoon and also did what he called “old school” running drills to test his right ankle. The righty was still waiting to hear what the next step would be.

“It went good,” Jimenez said in the clubhouse this afternoon. “I was able to get on the mound and throw all my pitches. I was able to throw from the stretch and the windup and they made me do a couple drills, running drills, to make sure i’d be able to go to first base.”

ORIOLES LINEUP
Nick Markakis RF
David Lough LF
Adam Jones CF
Nelson Cruz DH
Chris Davis 1B
J.J. Hardy SS
Jonathan Schoop 2B
Ryan Flaherty 3B
Nick Hundley C

Chris Tillman RHP

ANGELS LINEUP
Kole Calhoun RF
Mike Trout CF
Albert Pujols DH
Josh Hamilton LF
Erick Aybar SS
Howie Kendrick 2B
David Freese 3B
Efren Navarro 1B
Chris Iannetta C

Jered Weaver RHP

Machado scratched

ANAHEIM— Manny Machado was a last minute scratch from Tuesday’s Orioles starting lineup with back tightness.

The extent of Machado’s injury was not immediately known and the 22-year-old has not missed any previous time this season with a back injury. Machado has played in 66 games for Baltimore this season, missing the first month recovering from offseason knee surgery and serving a five-game suspension. He also missed a couple games with a right groin injury in May.

Machado was replaced by Ryan Flaherty at third base, who moved down to the eighth spot in the batting order. Second baseman Jonathan Schoop moved up from ninth to Machado’s original spot at seventh with catcher Caleb Joseph moving down to hit last.

Machado entered the day batting .267 with 10 homers and 23 RBIs.

Orioles @ Angels lineups and pregame notes

Greetings from Anaheim, where the O’s will take on the Angels for the second of a three-game set.

*Miguel Gonzalez is starting tonight with Preston Guilmet optioned to Triple-A Norfolk to clear a roster spot. Guilmet, 26, has posted a 5.23 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 10 appearances for the Orioles this season. Gonzalez was optioned to Triple-A prior to the All-Star break to stay on track and to allow the O’s to add another person to the roster during that time. He is coming off back-to-back eight-inning outings.

*The MLBPA (Major League Baseball Players Association) announced this morning that Adam Jones has been named the Orioles 2014 Heart & Hustle Award winner. Per the release…

This esteemed award honors active players who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit and tradition of the game. The Heart and Hustle Award is also the only award in Major League Baseball that is voted on by former players.

“He represents all the best qualities of a teammate and competitor,” said Brooks Robinson, Orioles Hall of Fame third baseman and Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association president. “The way he plays the game sets an example for young players to follow.”

The MLBPAA formed 30 committees, comprised of Alumni players with established relationships to each team. One player from each Major League team is chosen by the committees based on their passion, desire and work ethic demonstrated both on and off the field. These players will be recognized prior to an upcoming home game. As the season draws to a close, fans, all Alumni and active players will vote to select the final winner from the 30 team winners. The previous overall winners are David Eckstein (2005), Craig Biggio (2006, 2007), Grady Sizemore (2008), Albert Pujols (2009), Roy Halladay (2010), Torii Hunter (2011), Mike Trout (2012) and Dustin Pedroia (2013).

The final winner will be announced on November 18,2014 at the 15th Annual Legends for Youth Dinner in New York City. This event is the primary fundraiser for the series of free Legends for Youth Baseball Clinics. These clinics impact more than 15,000 children each year at 110 clinics, allowing them the unique opportunity to interact with and learn from players who have left a lasting impact on the game of baseball.

ORIOLES LINEUP
Nick Markakis RF
Steve Pearce LF
Adam Jones CF
Nelson Cruz DH
Chris Davis 1B
J.J. Hardy SS
Manny Machado 3B
Caleb Joseph C
Jonathan Schoop 2B

Miguel Gonzalez RHP

ANGELS LINEUP
Kole Calhoun RF
Mike Trout CF
Albert Pujols 1B
Josh Hamilton DH
Erick Aybar SS
Howie Kendrick 2B
David Freese 3B
Efren Navarro LF
Hank Conger C

Hector Santiago LHP

Os casting wide net, seeking starters and bullpen help

ANAHEIM— The Orioles are casting a wide net leading up to this year’s Trade Deadline and it’s no secret that the club is looking for both rotation and bullpen help. They’re exploring some interesting ways to get there.

According to industry sources, Baltimore has dangled right-hander Miguel Gonzalez in potential trade talks with at least three clubs, including San Diego, with the thinking that the Orioles could potentially land a starter in return. One interesting name that has come up in preliminary talks is Padres starter Ian Kennedy. Kennedy’s stock has never been higher as he’s pitched to a 3.26 ERA in 21 games and he’s under team control —as an arbitration eligible— in 2015.

The uncertainty in dealing with San Diego, who traded closer Huston Street to the Angels over the weekend, is that the front office is undergoing massive changes. However, it’s believed that assistant general manager A.J. Hinch is itching to get a few deals done before the organization officially hires a new GM. Gonzalez, who is coming off back-to-back eight-inning starts, isn’t a guy the Orioles necessarily want to part with but he could be moved to the bullpen when injured Ubaldo Jimenez is deemed ready to return.

Baltimore is also one of several clubs with interest in A.J. Burnett, a potential fit that would make sense given that the O’s expressed interest in Burnett this winter. While Burnett has a no-trade clause it does not include Baltimore, sources confirmed to MLB.com, and he lives in nearby Monkton, Md. The O’s were linked to Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa earlier this month, although reports were that Colorado was asking for a steep price tag that includes right-hander Kevin Gausman and hasn’t come down much.

The Orioles are also seeking a sixth or seventh-inning reliever type to help bridge to Darren O’Day and closer Zach Britton along with a left-handed hitter. Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Monday that he’s been in contact with executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette regarding trade scenarios but typically Duquette doesn’t bring up specifics until talks become serious.

“He’s brought up one player’s name to me,” Showalter said of Duquette’s conversations with him regarding trade possibilities. “But I know, I think Dan is in tune and wired to everything that may be out there. And more importantly the cost to get it. What price? not only financially but what we look at is what it takes away from us. Not only here but below. Everybody’s price right now compared to what it would be two hours beforehand. [Now], it’s like “we would never do that.” Two hours before the deadline, it’s “Oh, we did do that.” There’s a bit of poker being played. I don’t dwell on it to much because I like our people and I don’t like, I know Dan doesn’t either, giving someone away that fits where we are and where we are going.”

Duquette has been hesitant in the past to deal any of the organization’s top prospects, and by all accounts it doesn’t look like his stance has changed. The Orioles have been able to acquire some attractive pitching depth in the lower levels of the Minor Leagues however, which make a trade or two more plausible.

Showalter said despite the down year for the American League East, and the O’s current first-place status, the organization isn’t tempted to go all-in at the expense of its future.

“There’s two thoughts of that [thinking]..how did we get there?,” Showalter said of his current group, which entered Monday with a three-game lead over the Yankees and Blue Jays. “I think we got a pretty good grip of who we are and who we are not.”

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