After winning his first Gold Glove tonight, Orioles third baseman Manny Machado said he was surprised when he heard his name called. Machado was one of three O’s winners tonight, along with J.J. Hardy at short and center fielder Adam Jones.
“It’s just an honor to be in the same category as the other third basemen out there,” Machado said on a conference call. “I’m blessed. It wasn’t something that happened with (just) myself. It helped me out having (coach) Bobby Dickerson there with me every day and learning from J.J., who has won a Gold Glove in the past and C.D. (Chris Davis) helped out on throws at first base.”
Machado is the only O’s third baseman to win the award other than Brooks Robinson, who won the first of his 16 Gold Gloves at 23 in 1960. Machado wins tonight at 21.
“Brooks is one of the best players that played. To be in the same category as him and being with the same team he played for makes it special. Hopefully I can (win 15 more to tie him), he said.
Machado also provided an update on his left knee. He had Oct. 14 surgery in Los Angeles.
“It’s been going great,” he said. “This is my second week of rehab. Knee looks great. Rehab is going pretty well. Just have to continue working hard and hopefully I’ll be ready for spring.”
Machado led all Anerican League third basemen in fielding percentage (.973) and assists (355), and posted 4.4 Defensive Wins Above Replacement, pacing all American League fielders. That was also the third-highest total in the majors.
Hardy’s second career Gold Glove makes him the third shortstop in O’s history to win the award in consecutive years, joining Cal Ripken (1991-92) and Mark Belanger (1973-78).
Hardy won his first Gold Glove last season.
“Just as cool,” he said of tonight’s honor. “It is something I don’t think will ever get old. It’s a true honor, something we work hard for and I really appreciate it.
“The fact that, it’s all the coaches putting in the votes. This year, I think 25 percent went into the stats that no one understands, but it’s a true honor and just as exciting this year as it was last year for me.”
Jones won his third career Gold Glove Award after leading AL center fielders in games (156), assists (11) and putouts (352). He is out of the country and was not on the conference call.
“All the credit goes to the players,” manager Buck Showalter said of the three Gold Gloves. “I’m just proud of the work they put in and it’s an honor to watch them play defense and see they realize how important it is. It is part of the culture you hope to be about. Our pitching staff is very appreciative of the pride our guys take in defense.
“Effort is part of defense. The example these guys set, I know our minor league guys watch. Just to carry it on through the organization and know that if you are going to play for the Orioles, you have to take pride in your defense. If you are driving in one and letting in two, the math doesn’t work in the American League.
“I take great pride in watching these guys and I love it when they get the recognition they deserve. We carved out a special niche down the hall (in the clubhouse) ... we have so many great players, but I also want to honor the guys that are here now. These are the good old days so to speak, we hope.”
O’s executive vice president Dan Duquette talked about the importance of good defense.
“From my perspective, the emphasis that Buck and the coaches put on defense is certainly reflective in the Gold Gloves. The players get the credit and do all the work, but the other thing to keep in mind is the emphasis the management team put on team emphasis and the club had the fewest errors in the history of the league,” Duquette said.
“These men take pride in their job. You can’t be recognized as the top in your job without knowing it, understanding it and practicing it, day in and day out.”
The O’s are the first AL team since the 2002-03 Seattle Mariners to win at least three Gold Gloves in consecutive seasons.