BALTIMORE -- A day after Manny Machado's peers named him to his first All-Star Game, he made a defensive play that had even manager Buck Showalter wondering how he had pulled it off.
In the sixth inning, Machado moved toward the third-base line and knocked it down and fumbled it around. Then ranging into foul territory, he regained control and made a long throw across his body to nab Luis Cruz at first base.
Cruz looked as if he was in disbelief when he discovered he'd been thrown out on the play. But Machado's Orioles teammates said they're not surprised by much from Machado anymore.
"We see it happen and it's not something that we expect, but we're starting to get used to it," shortstop J.J. Hardy said. "He's done it so much on a regular basis. There's the plays you see that look unbelievable and then there's the plays that look routine to him but they're not, they're tough. So he's been pretty special."
Manager Buck Showalter routinely tried to downplay Machado's accomplishments last season and early this year. But on Monday he compared the young third baseman to legendary Orioles third baseman Brooks Robinson, and the famous defensive play he made in the 1970 World Series.
"I hope it's yet to come," Showalter said when asked for his favorite Machado play. "I hope it's that one where he catches the last out in the World Series. That's the one I'm looking for. Kind of like another third baseman that was real good over there."
The defensive play didn't turn the game, but it's becoming more and more common to see Machado impress with his glove. Sunday's play served as an exclamation point to the defensive turnaround the club has experienced since Machado's contract was selected last August.
Machado stopped short of calling it his favorite defensive play to date, offering simply that it was "up there." But he can be forgiven because the way he's flashed the leather this season, it's getting tougher to choose just one play.
Four O's All-Stars excited to share experience
BALTIMORE -- The Orioles contingent of All-Stars spoke with the media on Monday in their normal press conference room. But the team needed a double-wide table, which underscores the heavy presence the Orioles lineup will have on the American League's roster at this year's All-Star Game.
Adam Jones, Chris Davis, and J.J. Hardy were all voted as starters by the fans, and Manny Machado was picked as a reserve from the players' ballot.
"I think reality has set in but it's kind of surreal," Adam Jones said. "We have four guys up here obviously because we've earned it and deserve it. It's humbling to go there and share it with my teammates, guys I spend most of my life with."
Jones and Hardy have been there before, but Davis, who leads the Majors in home runs, will be making his first trip.
"It's always fun to do things that you've never done before. But when you can do it with guys that you're battling with on a day-to-day basis it makes you appreciate it that much more," Davis said.
"I thought for a while there we might have nine starters in the All-Star Game the way the fans were voting, and we appreciate that," Davis added. "That means a lot to us knowing that the fans are behind us and that there are fans around the country who are behind us as well."
Hardy struggled offensively last season, but has seen his power numbers surge this year to pair with his ever-steady glove. He said making the trip this year will mean a little more after he puts last year's struggles behind him.
"I feel like my career so far has been kind of a roller-coaster ride. I've had ups and downs, I feel like we all do," Hardy said. "But any time you can come back up after being down it definitely feels great. I think it makes this a little more special for me."
It will also be the first trip for Machado, who celebrated his 21st birthday on Selection Saturday, July 6. So did the repeat All-Stars have any advice for Machado on what to expect?
"Autographs, get ready to sign," Hardy said. "Just that it's fun. Go there and enjoy yourself, take it all in. Try to represent the Orioles the best way you can, and the American League. Really, there's not much to tell him. He'll see it all in about a week."
Chen to follow Britton, return Wednesday
BALTIMORE -- The Orioles will activate Wei-Yin Chen from the disabled list to start on Wednesday, with fellow lefty Zach Britton slated to pitch Tuesday's game, both of which will be against the Texas Rangers.
The decision allows Chen, who made his second rehab start on Thursday, to get an extra day of rest, and temporarily gives Baltimore a six-man rotation.
"We can make some adjustments depending on what we do with our bullpen," manager Buck Showalter said of the rotation this week, which will have only Monday's starter Scott Feldman pitch twice. "Don't want to get guys too far away, but want them to get the benefit [of extra rest]. Because of the four days [for the All-Star break], it allows us to do whatever we want to do post-break. Everybody will have had rest to put them in the mix."
The Orioles open the second half on the road with a series in Texas and then Kansas City and will look at matchups and ballparks before setting the rotation. Showalter joked he'd threaten to have guys pitch in the Minor Leagues during the break -- which is what Chris Tillman did last year -- although he acknowledged it could be a real possibility in certain cases.
"It depends on the need of what our bullpen is between now and then and if can benefit from it," Showalter said "And where they slot out second half. There's some days and mathematics involved there, you got to keep in mind [when optioning a player]."
Chen will be followed by Miguel Gonzalez to cap the four-game series against the Rangers, with Tillman and Jason Hammel pitching against the Blue Jays, followed by Feldman.
"It fit pretty well if you look at everybody's [schedule], knowing how they fit not only with the teams they are pitching against, but also not too far away from pitching, but also getting the benefit of an extra day here and there," Showalter said. "Because that's not going to be there shortly. Obviously we are not going to be able to carry six starters the second half."
• Orioles first base prospect Christian Walker was added to the Futures Game roster for Team USA on Monday.
• Steve Johnson (left oblique strain) threw 35 pitches off the mound on Monday at the team's spring facility.
• Wilson Betemit is progressing slowly, doing baseball activities "as tolerated" while Steve Pearce (wrist) is getting closer to starting baseball activities, with the soreness almost completely gone.
• On Friday, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. ET, Jones, the Orioles Wives, Orioles front office employees and volunteers from the Brooklyn O'Malley Boys and Girls Club will have a ground-breaking ceremony leading into the opening stages of construction for the new Technology and Learning Center at the Boys and Girls Club's facility at 3560 3rd Street in Baltimore.
• On Wednesday, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET, Tommy Hunter will sign autographs and greet fans at the Orioles Team Store at the York Galleria Mall in York, Pa. The event, presented by Orioles Radio Network affiliate WSBA 910 AM, is free of charge and open to the public.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. Derek Wetmore is an associate reporter for MLB.com.. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.