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.