Deserving O’s Machado could be squeezed out of All-Star Game, Zimmermann likely to represent Nats

The Orioles’ Adam Jones, Chris Davis, J.J. Hardy and Nick Markakis are leading the All-Star voting at their respective positions, but third baseman Manny Machado’s chances to make the team present interesting twists.

Machado, who turns 21 on July 6, deserves to be at New York’s Citi Field on July 16. At this point, he is more than a million votes behind Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera to start at third base. Unless he overcomes Cabrera in the fan voting, Machado’s being an All-Star depends on how many reserve third basemen the American League will have.

Third base is a loaded position for the AL. There’s Tampa Bay’s Evan Longoria, Texas’ Adrian Beltre and Oakland’s Josh Donaldson. Each of the league’s 15 teams has to have a representative.

That could hurt Machado. Sometimes the system can do a player in. Sometimes a player’s lack of experience can factor into the decision, which will be made by Tigers manager Jim Leyland and the AL front-office types.

Leyland told reporters he likes the way Machado handles the bat and that he plays excellent defense.

Although he’s slumping, Donaldson is the A’s leading hitter. A case could be made for A’s closer Grant Balfour, and both could end up on the team, given Oakland leads the AL West.

Longoria is the Rays’ leading hitter, and the only other Rays that deserve to go would be pitchers Alex Cobb and Matt Moore. Moore has slumped and Cobb is out after getting hit in the head with a line drive. Longoria is having foot issues.

Beltre is having a monster season for the Rangers, but a case can be made for Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski and pitcher Yu Darvish.

Beltre has started each of the last two All-Star Games for the AL. Cabrera was his backup last season and in 2011, it was Alex Rodriguez and Kevin Youkilis.

Last season’s NL starter was Pablo Sandoval and in 2011, it was Scott Rolen. In the previous two years, the NL has had three reserves.

That bodes well for Machado.

Davis, with his league-leading home runs, and Machado, with his league-leading doubles total, could become the first teammates to lead the league in those categories since 1927 when Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs and Lou Gehrig had 52 doubles for the Yankees.

Ruth and Gehrig were All-Stars. Davis is heading there, and Machado should, too.

Nats’ potential All-Stars: Jordan Zimmermann and Ian Desmond are the likely candidates to represent the Nationals.

Zimmermann, given that he’s been one of the most consistent pitchers all season, could start, but there’s plenty of competition with Clayton Kershaw, Shelby Miller, Matt Harvey, Cliff Lee, Patrick Corbin and Adam Wainwright.

Harvey pitches for the Mets, and he’s a local favorite. Plus, he has two near no-hitters. Miller of St. Louis and Corbin of Arizona play for first-place teams.

Desmond’s strong performance lately has vaulted him into the conversation. The Rockies’ Troy Tulowitzki (.347, 16 home runs) is the vote leader at shortstop, but he’s injured. So that leaves Milwaukee’s Jean Segura and San Diego’s Everth Cabrera as the top candidates. Segura is a good blend of speed, power, average and defense. Cabrera is a .300 hitter with excellent defense who is on his way to 60 steals.

Teams will be announced July 7.