BALTIMORE (AP) — For well over six seasons, Manny Machado’s value to the Baltimore Orioles has been solely his ability to hit and play the field.
All that has changed, now that the Orioles are looking to receive a huge return for their All-Star shortstop in a blockbuster trade.
Machado homered before being removed on a wet day, Adam Jones hit a three-run double and Baltimore rallied past the Texas Rangers 6-5 Sunday.
Machado was taken out of the game in the fifth inning by manager Buck Showalter after a 26-minute rain delay. The move was designed to get their star player off a sloppy field, because the last-place Orioles are entertaining offers for Machado before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
“Obviously there’s a different situation going on with Manny. You all know that,” Showalter said. “That had a lot to do with it.”
Plain and simple, the Orioles can’t afford to have Machado get hurt. Now, more than ever.
“A month ago he wouldn’t have come out of the game,” Showalter acknowledged. “We know that. You know it.”
After being replaced by Jace Peterson, Machado sat in the dugout, wearing a sweatshirt and joking with his teammates.
“I don’t know why (Showalter) did it or not,” Machado said. “He just told me, ‘I’m going to take you out. You had a good first half and go represent us well in the All-Star Game.'”
Machado is Baltimore’s lone representative for Tuesday’s showcase. He has spent his entire career in Baltimore, but his contract expires after this season and the Orioles don’t appear interested in locking him up with a long-term deal.
“I’m going to the All-Star Game as an Oriole and as a shortstop. It’s just always a blessing,” Machado said. “I thank God. I thank my family for always supporting me, my teammates, the fans, the organization. I mean it’s just been very incredible.”
In a matchup between two teams staggering into the break, Texas got a first-inning grand slam from rookie Ronald Guzman but quickly gave the lead away in losing for the seventh time in nine games.
Machado ignited the comeback with his 24th homer, and Jones’ bases-clearing double in the third off Mike Minor (6-6) put Baltimore ahead to stay.
“I’ll be fine,” said Minor, who yielded five earned runs in 2 2/3 innings. “I’ll reflect a little bit and then get back to it.”
The game ended when Texas pinch-runner Carlos Tocci was thrown out at the plate on a double by Elvis Andrus. Running from first base, Tocci was tagged out by catcher Caleb Joseph following throws by right fielder Mark Trumbo and second baseman Jonathan Schoop.
“Textbook,” Showalter said.
Texas manager Jeff Bannister called it a “situation where they had to throw it on line to throw Tocci out. They executed well.”
Tanner Scott (1-1), the first of four Baltimore relievers, earned his first big league win.
Zach Britton, another Oriole supposedly on the trading block, worked the ninth for his fourth save, the second in two days.
Texas broke on top when Miguel Castro issued three straight walks and Guzman sent a one-out drive over the right-field wall for his first career grand slam.
It was 4-1 in the third when Joseph hit an RBI double and Jones doubled down the left-field line following a walk to Machado.
Shin-Soo Choo homered in the seventh to get the Rangers to 6-5.
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