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BALTIMORE – While J.J. Hardy is out, expect Manny Machado to play one position, either shortstop or third base, but not both.
“I don’t want to go back and forth with Manny. I want him to concentrate on shortstop until J.J. gets back potentially. That’s one way to look at it,” Showalter said.
“Or you play third and don’t think about shortstop anymore. I think that’s the conclusion we came to talking to him is that I don’t want to start going back and forth even though he’s played a lot of shortstop in the shift and played a lot in his career. It’s a different preparation. You need to have respect for the player’s preparation to play a position on a given night.”
Showalter knows that Machado or Chris Davis would willingly switch positions, and they have, but he doesn’t want to weaken one spot to strengthen another.
“No one asks a player’s opinion, what his thoughts are in a perfect world if you’re not going to be swayed by what they think,” Showalter said.
For now, Showalter is fine with who he has in the infield, but that’s as long as there’s not an injury.
“We’re one tweak of something away from having to make a move. We can get through that game,” Showalter said. “You can rectify it overnight.”
NOTES: Norfolk INF Trey Mancini was named the Orioles’ Minor League Player of the Month for April. Delmarva LHP Garrett Cleavinger is the Pitcher of the Month.
PITTSBURGH -- As the Capitals and Penguins eagerly await tonight’s Game 4 of their first-round playoff series, Pittsburgh authorities might want to put out an APB on Sidney Crosby.
Through the first three games against the Capitals, the Penguins’ captain has zero points, six shots and a minus-3 rating.
“The players against him keep an inside position,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. “He’s very skilled and we’re making him play some defense, taking away his time and space. We’ve done a pretty good job of that.”
In the first three games of this series, the Caps’ top line of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie has outscored the Penguins’ top line of Conor Sheary, Patric Hornqvist and Crosby by a 4-1 count. The Caps’ top defense pairing of Karl Alzner and Matt Niskanen has gotten a big assist.
"I'd say the first two games we definitely had some good chances, had a lot of zone time, and that's more of what we're looking for,” Crosby said on Wednesday. “If we have a game like that we'll generate a lot more and hopefully bury a few chances. You always want more and if you look at last game we weren't there, we didn't generate enough, we were on our heels a lot and we've gotta find a way to put some pucks to the net."
Asked why the Caps had the Penguins on their heels in Game 3, outshooting them 49-23, Crosby said, "I don't know. I think we just weren't aggressive. When you're aggressive you force mistakes, you don't allow them time and space. They're a good team and if you give them time and space they're going to make plays. Maybe we were overthinking things a little too much, or maybe once you get a lead it's hard not to sit on it a bit. I think we were guilty of that."
The Penguins are also 0-for-10 on the power play through three games of this series and have found it difficult to break the Caps’ outstanding penalty kill, led by Jay Beagle, Daniel Winnik, Mike Richards, Tom Wilson, Karl Alzner, Matt Niskanen, John Carlson and Taylor Chorney.
“As the series goes on you're going to see special teams are more and more important,” Crosby said. “With how tight the games are, whoever wins that special teams battle is probably going to end up winning the game.
“It's just understanding we've gotta be better there and find a way to help our team out by getting those goals on the power play. Up to this point it hasn't been as good as we want it to, but hopefully the best is yet to come for that and we can make sure it helps us win some games here."
MORE CAPITALS: KRIS LETANG SPEAKS ON GAME 4 SUSPENSION AT MORNING SKATE