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Manny Machado will start at shortstop in 2018

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Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will get the nod at shortstop this season, club manager Buck Showalter said Saturday. While a last-minute trade hasn’t been completely ruled out at this point, nothing appears to be imminent and it looks like the Orioles will push forward with plans to begin the season with their star infielder.

Machado, 25, got his start at shortstop during his days in the Orioles’ farm system, but has yet to play a full season there on the big league level. He racked up seven games at short in 2015 and another 45 in 2016. Earlier this offseason, there were rumors that Machado wanted to make the switch to shortstop again in 2018, and it looks like the club will do all they can to accommodate that request in advance of his impending free agency in 2019.

While the three-time All-Star tries his glove up the middle, Orioles shortstop Tim Beckham is slated for a move to the hot corner. The 28-year-old was acquired via trade from the Rays last summer and finished the year among the top ten most valuable shortstops, though the bulk of his value was wrapped up in his .278 average and 22 home runs. There may be something of a learning curve for Beckham on this field this year, however, as he’s logged just 16 games at third base during his career, only nine of which have come in the majors.

Report: J.D. Martinez signing delayed by medical issue

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The Red Sox reportedly inked free agent outfielder J.D. Martinez to a five-year, $110 million contract last Monday, but there appears to be a slight hitch in the process. According to a report from Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston, the team is sorting through a medical issue that has delayed the signing. The specific nature of the issue has yet to be revealed, though Drellich adds that both the team and agent Scott Boras have involved additional medical experts in the process.

For what it’s worth, Martinez remained fairly healthy during his 2017 run with the Tigers and Diamondbacks. The 30-year-old outfielder spent six weeks on the disabled list after suffering a right foot sprain during camp, but managed to make a full recovery by mid-May and didn’t relapse once throughout the rest of the year. Of course, the medical issue holding up his new contract could be of an entirely different nature.

While spring training is already underway for the rest of the Red Sox, club manager Alex Cora doesn’t appear too concerned by Martinez’s absence — yet. “The thing I can do is my thing,” he told MLB.com’s Ian Browne. “My job here is to show up every day and get ’em ready.”