There are few players more qualified to talk about defense than Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy. He's a good guy to go to for an early assessment of how Manny Machado is doing at third base as the guy that plays right next to him on the field.
"He has made some nice plays and he's made the routine plays," Hardy said. "He looks comfortable. I think sometimes the guys will come up and can look like a deer in headlights, but he's always aware of what is going on. Always, you know, checking with the second baseman, is he going to be at second base on a certain play. He's impressed me with that."
Hardy said it is clear that the physical skills are there for Machado on defense.
"Good, solid," Hard said. "Looks easy, not shaky at all. Looks relaxed when he's fielding a ground ball. His hands are soft. He made a real nice play last night on that bunt, or maybe it was a swinging bunt, that he came in on and made a good strong throw to first. His range, he moves to his left real well. He looks good."
Hardy said Machado has relied on him for help on defense and with things like positioning and he is happy to provide that guidance for the young player.
"We talk quite a bit. He's always looking at me to see where I'm at and he adjusts by that. So I think that is a big part of him being so aware.
"I've seen guys a lot older than that, that come up and are not that aware. Just kind of really locked in on the hitter and just that one thing. He hasn't done that at all," Hardy said.