ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - So, when’s the last time Manny Machado batted leadoff?
Try his senior season at Brito Miami Private High School.
“My whole senior year I batted first,” he said. “That was the last time I hit first. Yep.”
Machado has been moved atop the order for tonight’s game against Rays left-hander David Price. And it happened without advance notice from his manager.
“Yeah, it caught me by surprise,” said Machado, who heard about it from second baseman Brian Roberts. “It’s just another day in baseball, you know? Wherever I hit, you’ve still got to go up there and hit the baseball and play the game. Buck (Showalter) always has his way, doing stuff his way, and whichever way it is, we just go out there and keep playing baseball and do what we can control.”
Machado, who has a .313 on-base percentage this season, said he won’t change his approach.
“Why would I change?” he said. “We have how many games left? Why would I change now. I’ve done the same thing for 150-some games. Why change now?
“It’s going to be fun. It’s definitely the first time hitting first in the big leagues, first time in my professional career hitting first. It’s going to be fun. It’s definitely something that not a lot of people can do.”
Does this mean he’s going to start swiping bases with Adam Jones batting second? He’s got six steals in 13 attempts this season.
“I doubt I’ll steal second or third,” he said, smiling. “I don’t think (Jones) will take any pitches. No, I’m not stealing any bases. But maybe, maybe. I might have a couple left in me.”
The lineup includes Danny Valencia moving up to the cleanup spot.
“Buck always does something for a reason,” Machado said. “He doesn’t do anything to just go out there and do it. He has a reason behind it. He has a reason behind everything he does. If he feels confident with that lineup that we’re going to win, then you know we’re going to go out there and win games. It’s that confidence.”
Jones said he hasn’t batted second since 2009.
“It’s Showalter being Showalter,” he said, shrugging his shoulders.
“I don’t question him. I’m hitting two today. Cool.”
Will Jones change his approach?
“Yeah, I’m going to be a little more patient,” he said. “Try to work the count a little bit deeper.”
But seriously, folks...
“Yeah, I ain’t changing nothing,” he said. “Nobody’s going to change nothing. We’re going to keep our approach. I’m sure he has a reason. I don’t need to know the reason. I’m just going to go out there and do what he asks. We’ve got 10 games to go. Let’s go.
“I remember ‘09. It was awesome. B-Rob would lead off with a double, steal third. I just had to put the ball in play for an RBI.
“It’s obviously different (batting second), but nobody’s going to change nothing. We’re going to score some runs and that’s the name of the game, score runs. We’ve got a heavy right-handed lineup against Price. He’s tough on lefties. He’s tough on everybody. But we’ve got to give ourselves the best chance over the next 10 days.”