Manny Machado's defense at third base has been very solid since he got to Baltimore on Aug. 9. He has certainly surprised some people with a flawless move over the diamond from short. But has he surprised himself with how well he has done there?
"I wouldn't say I'm surprised, but you know I'm athletic, and I'm a shortstop. It's a tough adjustment, but I think I've been doing it pretty well," Machado said before yesterday's game with Tampa Bay.
"Whenever I have time, I go out there and work on whatever I need to work on. I have my routine that I do every day so I just try to stay with it."
Before the Orioles brought Machado here to play there, he played just two games at third with Double-A Bowie. But he spent countless hours before many Baysox games working on the position and getting schooled there by some of the O's top infield coaches.
Who worked with Manny on playing third in Bowie?
"It was Bobby Dickerson (the O's minor league infield instructor) or whoever was in town, sometimes Mike Bordick," Machado said. "Plus (Bowie coach) Denny Hocking, I was with Hock every day. He is the one that I mostly worked with. Denny is a great guy, and he's excited to go to work every day."
Some things you can't teach, like the instinctual play Machado made in the top of the ninth last night, faking a throw to first and getting an out between third and home to end the inning.
He then led off the ninth with a hit. His offense has been trending up again. He's batting .333 (16-for-48) over his last 12 games with four RBIs and six multi-hit games.
It's been a long season, but he says he is holding up well through the daily grind.
"I feel healthy, I feel relaxed. You know this is what I worked for during the whole offseason last year, is this right there. You want to play through September and October," Machado said.
"Of course, with the fans and every game in September counts. It's a great feeling to go out and play every day. This is everything I exepcted so far," he added.