FREDERICK, Md. - Manny Machado’s second game in Frederick did not produce the same excitement from his at-bats as the first did, but he’s quite pleased with his two days so far at Single-A Frederick.
Machado went 1-for-4 with a fourth-inning single today as the Keys lost 4-2 to Carolina. He is 4-for-8 in two Keys games.
“Great day,” he said. “Felt good to be out there playing in the field. Definitely, I got the work in. I got the ground balls, and it was overall a good day. I got some good at-bats, some quality at-bats, get some ground balls and got my feet under me.”
Machado recorded several assists in the game at third base. He had one error when he made a very good play on a tricky hop but his throw pulled first baseman Creede Simpson off the bag, although some with the Keys weren’t sure about that. They felt Simpson maintained contact with first base to record the out.
Still, Machado got to play some balls in the field and got a nine-inning test there.
“It’s great for me,” he said. “It’s something that’s going to come and to get it out the way now and get it going, I’m glad it happened today. It (his left knee) feels great. Nothing to complain about. Hopefully it keeps feeling good and I can rejoin the team soon.”
I reminded Machado that a time will come soon when reporters stop asking him how his knee feels.
“I hope so. I hope it’s soon,” he said.
I’ve been here two days, and Machado’s fielded a steady steam of pre- and postgame questions about his left knee. The good news for Manny is that as he continues to play with a healthy knee, fewer questions will be coming his way. But he knows it’s what everyone wants to know and ask about.
“I’ve been able to control it, and it’s something that’s going to be there,” Machado said. “I had a major surgery, it’s not something that I just sprained my knee or something. It’s a big surgery and it’s going to be there for awhile. I just have to deal with adjustments and deal with adversity and continue playing the game.”
Machado lined out to center in the first today, singled in the fourth and grounded out in the sixth and eighth. No extra-base hits today, but still he’s pleased with his swing in two days in the Carolina League.
“I felt good at the plate. I felt good catching ground balls. Felt good being on my feet for nine innings,” he said. “That’s just a good sign for me and hopefully, like I said, I can continue to do that on a consistent basis, and that’s what I need to do to be able to perform at a big league level.”
Machado admits that he still may have times where he wonders how his knee will respond and that mental hurdles are sometimes as hard to overcome as physical ones.
“That’s the hard part about it,” he said. “It’s not about my health being 100 percent, it’s about not thinking about it and having that in the back of your mind, which is not a good thing to have. I think that’s the part now I need to control and try to overcome that.”
Machado is expected to play third base for nine innings again tomorrow for the Keys. After that, where he goes has not been decided or at least announced publicly.
But he labels the last two days a success as he works his way back to Baltimore.
“Oh definitely. I think this is a huge step coming down from (extended) spring training where you don’t play with the same intensity and you come here and you got the crowd, the lights, and a team that’s trying to compete here and make the playoffs,” he said. “It’s good to be up, and it’s been a great first two days so far.”