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Orioles' Machado prefers to be spectator rather than participant in Home Run Derby

Manny Machado will likely be named to his fourth All-Star Game in the coming days, and while the Orioles shortstop is looking forward to playing in the game, he plans to be a spectator for the annual Home Run Derby.

Machado, who participated in the derby once before in 2015, said he has no plans to participate in this year’s event at Nationals Park.

“I enjoyed it before,” Machado said. “I just want to enjoy this one with my family. Just soak it in again.”

Machado’s 20 homers are tied for fifth-most in the majors.

Some hitters steer away from participating in the derby fearing that the event can affect a player’s swing in the second half.

When Machado participated in the derby in 2015 in Cincinnati — he was eliminated in the first round by Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson despite hitting 12 homers — he had pretty even first- and second-half splits, even though his on-base-plus-slugging percentage in the second half was 54 points lower.

Machado is a pending free agent who could be playing his final games with the Orioles as the nonwaiver trade deadline looms July 31, and playing with an Orioles team that rarely receives national TV exposure, the Home Run Derby would serve as an opportunity for unparalleled exposure as Machado approaches the open market next offseason.

His participation in the 2015 event at the Great American Ball Park offered similar exposure as Machado, returning from two major knee surgeries.

Wearing his cap backward accompanied by a big smile, Machado seemed to soak up the moment and teammate Adam Jones even brought out the Machado’s salsa that came out that year as a between-swing snack.

But to Machado — who attended last year’s All-Star Game events in his hometown of Miami even though he wasn’t in the game, supporting his brother-in-law Yonder Alonso — said he feels this year isn’t the best to participate in the derby.

“I did it already,” Machado said. “I’ve participated in it. Maybe in the future, later in my career, I’ll probably do it again. But as of right now, I don’t think it’s the right thing to do.”

eencina@baltsun.com

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