FREDERICK, Md. - After getting three extra-base hits in four at-bats tonight for Single-A Frederick, Manny Machado was quite pleased with his first rehab game.
But despite coming up with two doubles, a triple and two runs scored and hitting all three balls hard, Machado did not pronounce himself ready for a quick return to the major leagues.
“You know, this is something, if I would have hit four home runs I’m not going to go tomorrow to play in the big leagues,” Machado said. “That’s not how it works.
“I wish it were that easy. It’s just a process. It’s more not how many hits I get or how many plays I make. It’s getting the feel for playing nine innings, being on your feet the whole game. There are a lot of things that come into play before just having a big game.”
But he did indeed have a big game as Myrtle Beach beat Frederick 5-3 in front of 6,403 people at Harry Grove Stadium.
Machado was scheduled to play third base, but that plan was changed and he served as the designated hitter and batted second. It poured most of the afternoon and club officials didn’t want him playing third base on a slick field tonight.
He doubled to right in the first, tripled down the right-field line in the third and smoked a double off the center field wall in the fifth. In search of a fourth hit, he was called out on strikes in the last of the sixth. He scored two runs and slid into third base on his triple. Machado said he got pitches away and drove the ball that way in his first two at-bats.
“Felt good. Definitely an overall great day,” Machado said. “Felt good at the plate. Felt good running the bases. Overall good day.
“I was pretty calm. My adrenaline was pumping a bit, I won’t lie. But I felt great. Great feeling to be out there under the lights with the fans cheering me on. It was a good day.”
He said he did not make the decision to DH.
“That was all out of my hands,” Machado said. “I wish I could have been out there, but tomorrow’s another day. Hope I get out there tomorrow and play nine innings on the field.”
Another positive for Machado, besides how well he swung the bat, was that he felt fine running the bases and didn’t think about his knee, even when legging out the triple.
“No, not at all,” he said. “You’ve got to play the game. Can’t be out there thinking about my injury or that something will happen. Just had to leg it out and score a run.”
He got more than a few cheers here tonight and returned the favor a bit by signing autographs after he came out of the game in the later innings.
“It was awesome to hear the crowd cheering for me and the team,” Machado said. “That means a lot that they support us. Want to give them all thanks for coming out and supporting me in my first rehab game.”
So his first rehab game is in the books and it was a big step for him as he begins to make his way back to the Orioles.
“It’s huge, it’s huge. First game under the lights,” Machado said. “First game in front of a great crowd like this. Definitely a big obstacle we crossed and hopped over.”