Buck Showalter may stop managing to replace Andy MacPhail in Orioles front office

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Reports surfaced last month that Andy MacPhail plans to step down as Baltimore’s president of baseball operations after this season is over and Dan Connelly of the Baltimore Sun speculates that manager Buck Showalter may be the Orioles’ choice to replace him.

Showalter previously told Bob Nightengale of USA Today that he’s not interested in being a general manager, but Connelly writes that “it could be his job if he wants it” and “if he’s convinced he can make more of an impact in the front office he’ll take his bad knees and turned ankle and hobble upstairs.”

Connelly writes that serving as manager and president of baseball operations simultaneously is not something Showalter would do, so it likely depends on how much longer the 55-year-old wants to manage. Showalter guided the Orioles to a big second-half turnaround last season, but has gone just 68-92 as the full-time manager this season after also finishing his stint as Rangers manager with back-to-back losing seasons.

Nationals to reinstate Max Scherzer on Thursday

Max Scherzer
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Some good news for the Nationals today: All-Star hurler Max Scherzer is due back from the injured list this week, this time (hopefully) for good. He’s slated to start during Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates.

It’s been a long road back for the right-hander, who earned his seventh consecutive All-Star designation after heading into the break with a 2.30 ERA, 5.6 fWAR, and a league-leading 7.56 SO/BB rate. An untimely back injury forced him to the injured list in the days leading up to the All-Star Game, however, and he hasn’t returned in any kind of part-time or full-time capacity since.

While Scherzer was originally expected to pitch for the Nationals sometime during their weekend series versus the Brewers, manager Dave Martinez elected to push back his return date by a few days. It’s not clear whether he felt some lingering pain during his 64-pitch simulated start on Saturday or whether the Nationals simply want to play it safe with their ace, but either way, the club apparently feels like Scherzer will be back to full strength before the end of the week.

If so, his return would be a significant asset to the Nationals, who could use a sub-3.00 ERA, 5.0-fWAR starter to help bolster their standing in the NL East. Still, there’s no guarantee that the veteran righty is ready to shoulder a full-time role in Washington’s rotation, nor is it certain that he’ll be able to match his results from the first half of the season. In one start between IL stints last month, he dealt five innings of three-run, two-walk, eight-strikeout ball in an 8-7 loss to the Rockies.