Manny Machado dropped to seventh in Orioles’ batting order

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Manny Machado has struggled since returning from left knee surgery and Orioles manager Buck Showalter has dropped him to seventh in the order for tonight’s game against the Astros.

Machado has functioned exclusively as Baltimore’s No. 2 hitter since he was activated on May 1, but he’s batting just .224/.280/.296 over his first 25 games. While the 21-year-old has hit safely in 10 out of his last 11 games, he hasn’t shown much in the way of power and his patience is still a work in progress. This is his first start in the lower-third of the batting order since he was first called up late in 2012, but he surely won’t stick there for long if his production begins to pick up.

The Orioles are going with Steve Pearce as their No. 2 hitter tonight against right-hander Brad Peacock.

Kyle Schwarber has lost 17-20 pounds

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As is offseason tradition, the first of player-shape reports are trickling in. These usually use some variation of the phrase “best shape of [my/his] life.” This one, though, avoids that at least.

According to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber has lost 17-20 pounds so far this offseason. Schwarber said that he’s “already big and strong,” so “might as well try to get more explosive, faster.”

Though Schwarber knocked out 30 home runs this past season, his numbers were otherwise pedestrian. He hit .211/.315/.467 with 59 RBI and 67 runs scored in 486 plate appearances.

There has been some speculation that the Cubs will try to trade Schwarber to an American League team where he can be a DH. He’s a subpar defender, so making him a full-time DH makes a lot of sense. So far, though, the only team that has been linked to Schwarber this offseason has been the Red Sox.