Orioles to call up top prospect Manny Machado from Double-A

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Now here’s a surprise: Baltimore is calling up 20-year-old shortstop Manny Machado from Double-A Bowie on Thursday, MLB.com’s Britt Ghiroli reports.

Machado, the third overall pick in the 2010 draft, has been on fire of late, going 15-for-32 with three homers in his last nine games. He hit for the cycle on Saturday. Still, he hasn’t been all that great on the season as a whole, hitting .266/.350/.431 with 10 homers and 58 RBI in 399 at-bats. Of course, he was doing that as one of the youngest players in the upper minors — he just turned 20 years old on Monday.

The guess is that Machado will join the mix at third base for the Orioles, even though he’s played just two games there as a pro. The Orioles have mostly used Wilson Betemit at third of late and he’s been producing, but he can play first base, left field and DH. Mark Reynolds and Chris Davis have both been slumping and could stand to lose some playing time. Shortstop J.J. Hardy has been a bit better of late and is likely to remain an everyday player.

Marlins option Tom Koehler to Triple-A, recall Hunter Cervenka

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Long-time rotation mainstay Tom Koehler was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans on Monday and reliever Hunter Cervenka was recalled, the Marlins announced.

Koehler, 31, made 131 starts out of the Marlins’ rotation over the last five years, but his 12 this season have not been good, so the club hopes he can figure things out with a stint in the minors. He’s carrying a 7.92 ERA with a 44/29 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. Koehler battled bursitis in his right shoulder in May and June, which may partially explain his struggles.

Cervenka, 27, posted a 4.50 ERA with a 34/21 K/BB ratio in 34 innings of relief with New Orleans. He hasn’t pitched in the majors yet this season, but compiled a 3.53 ERA over 43 1/3 innings in the bigs last year in the Marlins’ bullpen.

Nationals, Dodgers, and Red Sox are interested in Pat Neshek

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At the trade deadline, relief pitching is the name of the game and one of the names clearly available is Pat Neshek. Today Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that the Nationals, Dodgers, and Red Sox are among the clubs who are closely scouting the Phillies reliever. Last week Ken Rosenthal reported that the Brewers and Rays were involved as well.

Neshek is an impending free agent, so he may come cheaper than Justin Wilson or some of the other bullpen arms available right now. The All-Star is 36 and is posting a fantastic season, featuring a 1.12 ERA and 45/5 K/BB ratio over 40.1 innings this season.