8/29/2014 7:27 P.M. ET
Cruz, O's have had casual extension talks
By Brittany Ghiroli and David Wilson / MLB.com
BALTIMORE -- Nelson Cruz and the Orioles have had preliminary discussions about a potential extension, although the talks aren't considered serious in nature right now.
"I've been through this before," said Cruz, who declined the Rangers' qualifying offer this winter to become a free agent. "It's the owner's decision, the GM. But no doubt I'd like to stay."
Cruz said the two sides have had talks during the second half, although there's no indications that anything is close. Cruz is one of several big-name free agents for the O's this season, including shortstop J.J. Hardy and right fielder Nick Markakis, who are both younger and could be seen as less of a long-term risk.
Cruz, who has hit a career-high 34 homers, initially wanted a multi-year deal this winter, but his market dried up and -- after declining the $14.1 million qualifying offer -- he signed a one-year, $8 million deal with Baltimore in February.
"I think for me and the team, the best interest is to stay focused on what we got," Cruz said. "I don't want to be a distraction with stuff like that, with contracts. Even though, like you said, I would like it to be done before [the season ends]. But right now, my main goal is to go to the playoffs."
Orioles manager Buck Showalter echoed that sentiment.
"Obviously, Nelson's had a good year. I've known him for quite a while," Showalter said. "He's been a good teammate. Right now, we're focused on these next 30-odd games, and we'll see what the people who are responsible for that and do that for a living, I'll let them handle that. I'll concentrate on managing.
"I'm trying to stay out of the way, keep things going in a good direction. Nelson's one of the reasons we have this opportunity. We certainly would like to have that continue. If there comes a time they may ask me how I think things fit baseball-wise, but I'm going to keep out of the financial part of it because the further we play and the more we do, better chance, I guess."
Machado looks to cheer on team in his return
BALTIMORE -- Manny Machado may get to be around for a celebration at Oriole Park at Camden Yards after all.
Originally, the injured third baseman thought he'd head straight from Los Angeles to Sarasota, Fla., to continue his rehab in a handful of weeks, but he texted manager Buck Showalter telling him that he could be back in Baltimore for the O's home series against the Red Sox -- and a potential playoff-clinching celebration.
"We're text buddies," Showalter said. "He said everything is going good. He said he felt really good after the surgery and said he'd see us potentially on the 17th."
If Machado, who had surgery to repair a partially torn medial patellofemoral ligament in his right knee on Wednesday, is around for the home stretch, Baltimore will have both of its injured All-Stars around the team for the final push. Matt Wieters has been around the O's for about a month after having Tommy John surgery in June.
To Showalter, it speaks to the camaraderie that has helped the Orioles find their way to first place in the American League East this season.
"They would do that whether we were competitive or not competitive," Showalter said. "I think they would. It's one of the essences of what makes this group kind of special to me. They like each other. They respect each other, and more importantly, they like competing together."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. David Wilson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.