Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Machado Is the Man for O's at Third

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Machado Is the Man for O's at Third

Article excerpt

SARASOTA -- Any player drafted in the first round, particularly with the third pick, is expected to contribute once he reaches the majors.

More than anyone could have hoped, Baltimore's Manny Machado fulfilled those expectations.

The Orioles' third baseman was recalled from the minors last season and made his first start Aug. 9 against the Kansas City Royals.

By the end of the game on Aug. 12, most everyone around baseball had heard of Machado.

By then the 20-year-old had hit three home runs in those four contests, becoming the youngest Oriole ever to have a multi-homer game.

Machado also became the 12th-youngest big leaguer since 1918 to hit at least two homers in a game. He would finish the season with a .262 average, seven home runs and 26 RBI.

"It was a great experience," Machado said recently inside the Orioles' clubhouse at the City of Sarasota Sports Complex.

"It's always something I dreamed about, playing in the big leagues, and it was everything I imagined, especially being in the playoffs. They made me feel welcome here and it was a blessing to be a part of this team."

The Orioles' third-base job was Machado's when he came up last season, and nothing's changed since then. With Mark Reynolds now in Cleveland and Chris Davis to start at first base for the O's, it will be a full season of Manny at the hot corner.

What helped, he said, was his brief time in spring training last season, plus the 191 at bats he got after his recall from the minors.

"Not going to say I feel comfortable yet," he said, "but it does give me a little boost of confidence that I've been a part of this team and been in this position before.''

At this point in his young career, all Machado would seem to need is more at bats.

"I think with more at bats you get more comfortable with it," he said. "That's just a matter of experience."

As for the expectations his 2012 season might have created, Machado didn't seem overly concerned.

"No problems," he said. "I go out there and I just let it go. Just go out there and play. My tools and my talent will take over. There are things that you just let happen."

5 can't miss games at Ed Smith Stadium

Monday, Feb. 25, New York Yankees, 1:05 p.m. - Always a big draw, even without an injured Alex Rodriguez.

Wednesday, Feb. 27, Boston Red Sox, 7:05 p.m. - Under first-year manager John Farrell, the Red Sox visit The Ed for a night game.

Sunday, March 3, Philadelphia Phillies, 1:05 p.m. - One of the more popular draws makes the trip down from Clearwater.

Thursday, March 14, Tampa Bay Rays, 1:05 p.m. - Could be the first chance for Sarasota fans to get a look at promising Ray Wil Myers.

Wednesday, March 20, Toronto Blue Jays, 1:05 p.m. - The new-look Jays could contend this season in the AL East.

5 questions that need to be answered concerning the 2013 Baltimore Orioles

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