SARASOTA, Fla. - Orioles manager Buck Showalter stayed up past midnight to watch Team USA’s win over the Dominican Republic and center fielder Adam Jones’ spectacular catch to rob Manny Machado of a home run in the World Baseball Classic.
“Oh, my goodness,” he said. “Unfortunately, I saw it live, as you can tell. No, that was a great moment. I loved the way Manny handled it. If you didn’t know they were teammates before that game, you know it now.”
Machado figures to hear about it from Jones after they reunite in Sarasota.
“I don’t know about ribbing,” Showalter said. “It’s one of those things, sometimes life’s greatest emotions show themselves in silence.
“The thing I loved about it the most was there was a Yankee fan that was trying to get into the field of play that he took it away from. That was probably the highlight for me. Sorry.”
It’s tough to rank Jones’ greatest catches, but this one has to be high up on the list for degree of difficulty and the setting.
“Maybe in the circumstances and the stage, but I think we’ve all seen as good, if not better,” Showalter said. “Keep in mind some of his depths make them even more. It’s another tribute to his post-up ability and staying on the field for his team by the way that he plays here. The guts it takes to make those plays. But I got out of it that a lot of people don’t play (Machado) where he was playing him. I think he kind of knew a little bit where it might be hit if it stays in the park. And that one didn’t stay in the park until it got in Adam’s glove.”
Jones and Machado are getting lots of national attention for their exploits at the plate and in the field, “but they haven’t done a single thing we haven’t seen,” Showalter said.
“It’s not surprising to any of us who get to see them. It’s great that some of the people who haven’t get to see it, but I don’t know why people don’t see it. You’d have to tell me. We see that every night, it seems like.
“I also realize that every catch, you can get to a highlight and see anything. Some of that might have been happening with Paul Blair. We see certain things with Brooks Robinson because it was in a World Series. It’s like Jim Palmer said today, ‘Heck, he was doing that every night.’ People didn’t see (Mark) Belanger and him and Blair making those plays. So I think we have to temper that with the fact that we have the avenues to see every play nowadays.”
Showalter doesn’t know when Machado and catcher Welington Castillo will rejoin the team.
“I texted both of them. They’re probably traveling,” he said.
“I told them congratulations and how proud we are of them and I told them if they need to take some time, that’s fine. Just communicate and let me know what you’re thinking. So hopefully I’ll know what they’re thinking shortly. I’m sure they responded unless they’re in flight now.
“I don’t know what they’re thinking. I know Castillo has caught a lot of innings. Very quietly, you talk about Adam and you talk about Manny, but Castillo has had a great WBC. He’s been very impressive. You can see why they selected him.”
Showalter can’t say with any certainly how much rest each player requires.
“The way I’m going to treat it is everybody’s different,” he said. “Adam’s been texting every day, ‘How’s J.J. (Hardy’s) back, how’s (Chris) Tillman’s shoulder?’ He’s connected. This is his priority. We’re so proud of all of them. They represented our club and our fans with a lot of pride.
“I don’t want them to feel like they’ve got to be here today. I want them to get away from it a little bit. Now, if they come in and say, ‘No, I want to get right in the flow right away ...’ If I’m a better man, I think they’re probably going to want to be in the locker room and everything and give and take about their at-bats.”
The Orioles are trying to find out whether reliever Mychal Givens will stay on Team USA’s roster for the semifinals. Pitching coach Roger McDowell is reaching out to Team USA pitching coach Jeff Jones.
As I wrote earlier today, Tillman will play catch from 60-90 feet next Sunday.
“They wanted to let that shot go seven to 10 days, so they’re going to let it run its course,” Showalter said. “They just want to take the full time. They’re the experts and that’s what we’re doing. It will be every other day after that.”
Former Orioles Rule 5 pick Michael Almanzar made the trip today with the Tigers.