It was quite a Friday night for Manny Machado in just his second major league game. We know that Machado is the first player in modern major league history (since 1900) with two homers and a triple through his first two career games. Machado is also the youngest player in Orioles franchise history, which includes the St. Louis Browns from 1902-53, to hit two or more homers in a game.
At 20 years, 35 days old, Machado is the youngest player in major league history to have a multi-homer game in either his first or second career game. The previous youngest player to do it was Manny Ramirez on Sept. 3, 1993, when Ramirez was 21 years, 96 days old.
But since he started playing in the O's organization, coaches and teammates have always described him as confident but certainly not cocky and Machado said it's fair to say he will keep all this in check as he gets set to play his third big league game here tonight.
"I would say that. I'm just trying to keep myself level-headed and humble. It's a humbling game and I'm just going about my business and trying to fit in," he said a few moments ago in the Orioles clubhouse.
"Yeah, I was pretty confident (I could do well in the majors). Your confidence level has to be up to come perform up here. It wasn't really about performance, just to get everything out of the way and come here and play 100 percent."
Machado is 4-for-8 over two games with a single, triple, two homers and four RBIs. If you go back over his past 11 games, couting Bowie and Baltimore, he has 11 extra-base hits in that span with three doubles, two triples and five homers. He has gone 20-for-41 with 11 RBIs in that stretch.
Machado was asked about all the drives to the ballpark he made this year on his way to Bowie. During those rides, did he dream about making a different turn and coming to Camden Yards?
"You think about that every day. But it was in the back of my mind," he said. "You just think about the present and playing every day. But it was always one step closer to the big leagues. Sometimes it crossed my mind.
"It's different, a different feel coming to the ballpark every day. Coming over here every day, knowing I'm going to play in a big league stadium and play top of the line talent, it just feels great."
A reporter asked Machado if, in some ways, it can be easier or better to hit in the big leagues in better ballparks with more fans and against pitchers who are around the plate more with their pitches.
"I wouldn't say that. Pitchers up here are No. 1s in Double-A. It's an adjustment I need to make," he said. "Yeah, the lights are a little better and the batter's eye is better, but it is still tough pitching."
Meanwhile, Jason Hammel was back at Camden Yards today and is expected to throw some pitches off the front slope of a mound during batting practice.
He continues to make solid progress after having right knee surgery. He said he is very optimistic that he can return to pitch for the Orioles by early September.
"It feels good. Much improved," Hammel said. "Monday I was a little worried because I didn't think things were moving quick enough, but the last three days I've made good progress.
"My arm usually doesn't need too much to get into shape. It will be based on the knee. I would hope to be two or three weeks (before a minor league rehab assignment) and I'm pretty sure about the September expectations that we have right now. Hopefully, that first week would be very feasible in my mind. The last three days I've made great strides."