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Orioles

O's lineup shuffle includes Machado's first major league start at shortstop

As the Orioles – losers of 10 of their past 11 games – open their three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays Monday night, their starting lineup has a much different look.

"Every once in a while you're in need of a different look, something to take away from Groundhog Day," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.

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Manny Machado will make his first major league start at shortstop, the position he was groomed for in the minor leagues before joining the Orioles in August 2012 to solve their problem at third base.

Machado has started every game this season at third base. Ryan Flaherty, who is hitting .357 (5-for-14) against Rays starter Chris Archer, will start at third.

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"What plays into it is Manny's capable of being a really good shortstop and Ryan's played well at third ... I like Ryan at all places," Showalter said. "But Ryan has had a little success off Archer too. And we're looking for any way to mount some offense."

Machado has played just one inning at shortstop in his major league career before Monday night. He shifted to shortstop in the 12th inning of the Orioles' 4-3 loss to the Twins on Aug. 23, making a costly fielding error on his only play that allowed the eventual winning run on base.

Showalter half-joked that that Machado has played his share of shortstop this season when the Orioles play shifts on left-handed batters.

"He's been playing shortstop all year, half the games in the shifts," Showalter said. "He really has. He's got as many putouts at shortstop as he's got at third base, [infield coach] Bobby [Dickerson] was telling me. So I know it's different. I know he's pretty excited about it."

The Orioles are also starting all three catchers on the roster. Matt Wieters will make his third career start at first base – he also started there on Aug. 1 against the Detroit Tigers – while Steve Clevenger will be the designated hitter and Caleb Joseph will catch.

"They're all swinging the bat [well], swinging the bat pretty well off Archer," Showalter said. "And if not them then who?"

Clevenger, hitting .370 in 13 games, will be making his first start since Monday. He didn't start in the three-game series in Texas because the Orioles were facing three lefties and was on the three-day paternity list Tuesday through Thursday for the birth of his first child.

"I wanted to get Steve back in there," Showalter said. "I hate anybody getting penalized because they had a great event in their life like the addition of a child. We had three left-handers in a row, we've got another tomorrow. Matt's good protection for Chris being a switch-hitter, I could keep going for about 30 reasons. They've added another left-hander in the bullpen and will probably add another one tomorrow. They are gonna be very left-handed so you want to make sure that you space them out."

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Other notes:

  • Showalter said that Miguel Gonzalez is “sore in a couple places” following his last start on Sunday and is questionable for his next start. He went 5 1/3 innings Sunday, allowing four runs on seven hits in a 6-0 loss to the Rangers. Gonzalez owns a 6.49 ERA in 13 games since returning from the disabled list with a groin strain in June.
  • Top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy has been cleared to resume throwing following his appointment with Dr. James Andrews Monday. The hope is for Bundy to begin a throwing program and be able to log game innings in instructional league next month. Bundy hasn't pitched in a game since May 21; he's been sidelined with calcium buildup in the back of his right shoulder.
  • Tyler Wilson, who is on the minor league disabled list with a left oblique strain, will throw a four-inning simulated game Tuesday.
  • Mike Wright will make a minor league rehab start tomorrow for Triple-A Norfolk. He allowed one run on two hits over four innings. He is expected to pitch five innings.

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