Machado arrives today as a visitor

SARASOTA, Fla. - Manny Machado saw three pitches from Orioles starter Kevin Gausman today in the first inning, grounding out to third baseman Ryan Flaherty and heading back to the visiting dugout.

His Orioles teammates made sure he could hear them as he passed.

Gausman threw nine pitches, five for strikes, while inducing ground balls to first and third and a chopper to the mound. José Reyes, Machado and Robinson Canó didn’t provide much resistance.

Machado doesn’t know whether he’s staying at third base, his position today with the Dominican Republic, or sliding over to shortstop. He doesn’t really care. Just post the lineup card and let him play.

“I have no idea,” he said today after taking batting practice. “I told Tony (Peña) I’m available to do whatever he wants me to do.

Manny-Machado-DR-WBC-sidebar.jpg“Obviously, (Andrián) Beltré’s not here right now. I think he’s going to meet us in Miami. I’m not sure yet. But wherever it is, I’m ready to play wherever. He knows I can play short and he’ll probably put me there one of these days, but I’m just trying to go out there and win some games. It doesn’t really matter where I play, to be honest.”

Peña has Machado batting second this afternoon at Ed Smith Stadium. The lineup is so stacked, Nelson Cruz is lowered to sixth.

“I mean, it’s unbelievable,” Machado said. “It’s all All-Stars alongside me. It’s unbelievable just to see the type of guys that we have on this ballclub, and on top of that, it’s fun to be around them for the next couple of days.”

Machado chose to play for the Dominican in order to honor his family. He has no regrets. The experience has exceeded anything that he imagined.

“Oh man, it’s unbelievable, it’s unbelievable,” he said. “It’s been great the last few days and now when I put on that jersey and see how it is to step on the field and represent my country and represent my family, it’s going to be a blessing.

“They’re loving it because it’s part of them. My mother said it’s giving her chills, and they’re looking forward to seeing me. I’m just blessed that I could give them an opportunity to watch me play and wearing the Dominican Republic across my chest.”

Machado embraced his father beside the visiting dugout before heading to the batting cage, the perfect snapshot on this sun-drenched day.

“I wanted to do it for my family, not for myself,” he said. “I wanted to go out there and do something for my family again. I’ve given them a lot and I’m going to continue to give them a lot. The only thing we can do for our mothers and fathers is give them back what they gave us, which is our lives, so any opportunity like this ...

“I got my dad in the stands and I hadn’t seen him in a while and he came up to me and said, ‘Man, I got chills just watching you wearing those colors and representing something that’s really big for us.’ At the end of the day, it’s all about your family and whenever you can make them excited and give them a smile. Giving them materialistic stuff, it goes above and beyond.”

Machado didn’t reveal how many tickets have been requested by friends in his hometown of Miami, but it’s safe to assume that it’s an ample.

“That’s up to me to know and for you guys to try to find out, but it’s going to be a lot,” he said. “It’s my hometown and I’m playing for the Dominican and I’m going to be in my hometown representing the country that my family was born in. It’s going to be an exciting time, I can tell you that.”

blog comments powered by Disqus