Hearing from Machado and a statement from Davey Johnson (and crowd note)

Manny Machado will report to spring training next month as the Orioles' starting third baseman, and it appears that he'll stay at that position during the workouts and games.

Asked whether he would take ground balls at shortstop, the position he played as a professional before joining the Orioles in August, Machado replied, "I talked to Buck (Showalter) and I think we're just going to keep it at third base. I'll keep working at third. I never played third and I have to keep working, and hopefully this spring I'll be working with (infield instructor) Bobby Dickerson and getting better at third."

Machado said 2013 will have a "different" feel for him after being called up as a 20-year-old rookie last year.

"It's going to be a longer season and I've got to get myself more mentally and physically ready," he said. "I'm really looking forward to spring training and getting back with the guys and continuing the season that we had last season.

"It definitely helps that I already played through it and made the playoffs my first year. That's definitely going to help coming into the season. It gives me a little bit of confidence. But I'm still going to go out there and try to earn a spot. Nothing's handed to me, so I've still got to go out there and show Buck that I can play third base."

How can Machado improve?

"Being more consistent with all the hitting and video work," he replied. "It's more a preparation thing. Looking at more video of the pitchers that I'm going to be facing. More of the mental side of the game."

At least Machado is 100 percent physically after his health scare in November. He was diagnosed with viral meningitis.

"It was awful, it was awful," he said. "I was hospitalized for two or three days. I lost a couple pounds. It was tough for me for a couple weeks to bounce back, but I'm healthy now. I've been working out, hitting and doing all my drills now. I'm healthy."

Former Orioles second baseman and current Nationals manager Davey Johnson issued a statement on the passing of Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver:

"I grew up in the minor leagues with Earl Weaver and we proceeded to spend a significant portion of our lives together. He was as intense a competitor as I have ever met. No one managed a ballclub or a pitching staff better than Earl. He was decades ahead of his time. Not a game goes by that I don't draw on something Earl did or said. I will miss him every day."

Note: Today's FanFest has attracted more than 18,000 fans, a record for the event. Last year, approximately 9,000 fans showed up at the Baltimore Convention Center.


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