It was a night where Aberdeen pitchers gave up 17 hits and it made a long game seem even longer in an 11-5 Ripken Stadium loss to Vermont. But still, the IronBirds’ debut of Manny Machado, the Orioles’ first-round pick, was a success.
He went 1 for 3 at bat, with a third-inning single, and had an excellent play in the field, ranging up the middle to his left to record an out in the top of the fifth. He played five innings as he is still knocking off the rust from a summer where he didn’t play much at all.
Aberdeen manager Gary Kendall talked about Machado’s first game:
“I’m looking for positive play and good things but we also want him to just go out and relax and make plays. The pressure is not on him. He’s here to extend his season and get some quality at bats. He didn’t play all summer, so the stamina thing is going to play a part. He says he can play nine innings (Tuesday night) at Connecticut and we may give that a try.
“The sky is the limit with all young players and especially someone that has the tools that he has. He does a lot of things easy, but I see a lot of raw ability. He’s an 18-year-old kid that played in front of 6,000 fans and played at ease. He’s a special kid.”
Kendall said Machado may have made a mistake or mis-understood when he batted in the fifth inning:
“Knight led off the inning, we’re down by eight and he flies out on the first pitch. I told him, hey, you are going to have to eat a couple of pitches here, he nodded that he knew what that meant.
“Then he swings at the first pitch, he hit a laser to left field, but we can’t make two outs on two pitches. Those are things that you learn, but there is a whole lot of talent there.
“We went out early today and hit. I want him to just get out on the field and be loose and smile. It was a good day for him, it was all positive. I liked the way he swung the bat and made a nice play ranging to his left. His at bats today, he didn’t look 18.”
Kendall hopes Machado plays in each of Aberdeen’s remaining six games:
“We are hoping (he’ll play the six games). He’s not going to run out there every day at shortstop, there may be some DHing involved. If he needs a day, he needs a day. We are just going to read him.”
Machado talked about his first IronBirds game:
“It was pretty easy going, just felt good to be playing again. I think I did pretty okay, had a couple of good at bats and made a good defensive play, think I did good.
“Just wanted to have fun, relax and play the game. I was happy to get one hit. My swing is coming back little by little, every game, every at bat. Just looking for timing.
“There’s a good atmosphere here, it’s pretty cool.”
Meanwhile, Mychal Givens, the O’s second-round pick from 2009, went 2 for 4 with a walk and is 4 for 7 with a homer in his first two Aberdeen games. Givens underwent left thumb surgery in June and it looked like he would miss the rest of the season.
Givens said he has come back sooner than expected:
“I came back a little sooner, they weren’t trying to rush me. But got my thumb moving well and feeling strong. You can never make up for lost time, but I just want to work hard each day.
Givens played second base Monday at Aberdeen. Has the high school shortstop been permanently moved to second base at this point?: “Right now, they’re just trying to get me to play multiple positions, second, short and third. It’s not official, but yes, I’m trying to make a transition and play multiple positions.”
Givens talked about playing with Machado:
“In Sarasota, I got to meet Manny, I was his roommate. Young kid with a lot of talent, it’s good that we both play middle infield together. Hope we can move up together and hopefully win a World Series together.”