Orioles manager Buck Showalter isn’t revealing his plans for Manny Machado beyond tonight’s game at Camden Yards. The same is true for Wilson Betemit and any other players who could be impacted by Machado’s arrival.
Machado is batting ninth and playing third base tonight. Whether he starts again tomorrow and is a regular presence in the lineup is assumed, but not confirmed.
“We’ll see how it goes tonight, see where it takes us,” Showalter said. “We have 25 guys here who have contributed to us getting to where we are and we’ll continue to look for ways to get contributions from everybody.
“Manny’s playing third base and we’ll see what the next few days bring. We want to get a look at him in this environment and try to win a baseball game and see how it fits. I’ve got in my mind how it would fit as we go forward against right- and left-handed pitching. We’ll see what each day brings. We’re going to keep everybody in the flow. This is that type of team. Manny’s got a chance to be a piece of that.”
As for the club’s decision to select Machado’s contract, Showalter said, “Just thought he gave us a chance to win more baseball games. We’ll see. He’s been doing well down there since the second half started and he’s in a good spot production-wise and swinging the bat. He’s done a lot of work at third base down there. Talking to Gary Kendall, our Double-A manager, and Brian Graham, our field coordinator, and Bobby Dickerson, they spent a lot of time with him. I think three or four days a week he’s out there for 20-30 minutes working on it, so hopefully that will go OK.
“It’s a big day for him. The biggest reason we did it is because we think he can help us win more games potentially. Have him out there tonight and see what happens.”
Asked if there were any thoughts in the organization about it being too early for Machado, the third-overall pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, Showalter replied, “Oh sure. We had that same discussion about Jeter and Bernie Williams and Posada and Mariano Rivera and all these young players. Travis Lee, Hank Blalock, Mark Teixeira. It happens. You talk about it and you trust your people who are watching. Crow has been down there a lot, Terry, and he’s been a big help with us evaluating players from below. It’s a real good trait of his.
“This has nothing to do how Trout’s doing or Harper’s doing or Lawrie. I could probably rattle off three or four more. Our needs and where Manny was, we felt like he could help us. We’ve got 50-ish games left and we feel like he’s our best option. We’ll do what it takes to support him.”
Speaking of options, the Orioles will send down a pitcher later today. We’re still waiting to find out which one.
Batting practice was cut short because of rain, so an announcement should be coming shortly regarding the corresponding roster move.
UPDATE: Steve Johnson was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk and Brian Roberts was moved to the 60-day disabled list.
Showalter expects Machado’s biggest adjustment to be his “clock” - adjusting to the speed of the game and knowing when to pick up the pace and when to slow it down.
The Orioles took Machado on plenty of spring training road trips, and it was done for a reason.
“We got a real good look at him in a tough environment, when you’re on a bus for an hour-plus, it’s 95 degrees,” Showalter said. “He handled it well. He was alert in the game. He’s a baseball player. He likes the competition. He’s got alert eyes. We all step on our tails sometimes. You’re not going to get me into, ‘This means this is going to happen in somebody’s career,’ negatively or positively. There’s too many bridges to cross. This is a starting place for him.
“We felt like he had a good opportunity to make our club next year.”
Infielder Ryan Flaherty showed up at Camden Yards today before being sent home again. His fever is mostly gone, but it will be at least a few more days before he’s cleared to go on a rehab assignment.
Sad news to report regarding hitting coach Jim Presley. His father passed away and he’s left the team. Crowley will serve as hitting coach until Presley returns from Pensacola, Fla., where he’s setting up a military funeral for his father.
For the Royals:
Alex Gordon LF
Alcides Escobar SS
Lorenzo Cain CF
Billy Butler DH
Salvador Perez C
Mike Moustakas 3B
Jeff Francoeur RF
Eric Hosmer 1B
Chris Getz 2B
Will Smith LHP