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Buck Showalter: On-field feud with Red Sox 'not a topic' in Orioles clubhouse

Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Thursday that the on-field tensions that hung over the season's first nine games between his club and the rival Boston Red Sox aren't part of the equation ahead of this week's four-game series at Camden Yards.

"It's not a topic in our locker room," Showalter said. "It's more about how to beat these really good pitchers they have. We've got our hands full with too many things to have that be part of your preparation. It's not [a topic] for us. I'm sure more than likely, it isn't with them. We'd like to play the game.

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"I don't know if I ever remember, at this point in the season, the American League East being this good from top to bottom at this point. If you look at Tampa, Toronto has got it going on now, and obviously New York and Boston. Your hands are full trying to stay with these guys as opposed to bringing in some unneeded drama or something."

The drama that they don't need this time began the last time the two teams met in Baltimore, when Orioles third baseman Manny Machado made contact with Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia on a slide into second base and injured his knee. Two days later, Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes threw a pitch behind Machado's head and was ejected and suspended four games for it.

A week later, from May 1-4, they met for a four-game series in Boston, where Major League Baseball intervened and talked to the two clubs after a pitch behind Machado by Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale. Machado went on a profane-filled rant after the game and said he lost all respect for the Red Sox. Things eventually cooled between the two clubs by the time they parted ways. However, that intervention from the league office essentially cost the Orioles a game when starter Kevin Gausman was ejected without warning for hitting a batter with a breaking ball in the second inning on May 3.

Showalter said the only time they think of what happened is when the media brings it up.

"Only when obviously you guys do have to bring it up, and ladies, you have to because it's part of what you do," he said. "I think that's when it comes into play more, and there's a lot of that that comes into play because of the way it's, rightfully so, covered. … It is what it is. If you're doing something important, people are critiquing it. Thank God they are, otherwise we'd be playing with nobody in the stands."

Around the horn: The Orioles said infielder Ryan Flaherty, who had a platelet-rich-plasma injection in his shoulder last week, will begin throwing again in Sarasota, Fla., in the next week.

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