Manny Machado’s suspension is over. He returns to the Orioles lineup tonight, batting third and playing third base. After missing the last four games, he says he feels refreshed and ready to help his team win.
“Yeah, I feel real good,” Machado said this afternoon in the Orioles clubhouse. “Obviously the days off really helped, not going to lie. You take a pounding on your body and I haven’t had some days off since the offseason. It was pretty good to stay off my legs a bit.
“At the same time, I was working. I was in weight room and the batting cages. Just because I was gone for four days doesn’t mean it was a vacation for me.
“My mindset is to take this team somewhere that we’ve never been in a long time. I have to come back hot. This team is playing well and everyone is swinging the bat well. I wasn’t going to come in here and ruin what the guys have done the last four days.
“They did a great job. The worst part was we had just 24 guys. But they handled the situation likes the pros that they are. We deal with adversity. If we want to make it where we want to go, we’re going to have to deal with situations like this.
“This is one of those steps to get us to where we want to go. I think this made us a stronger team mentally. We’re getting toward having our full team back and the sky is the limit. This makes the team stronger and better. Just have to play as a team and keep going. Just have one mindset, which is to play in October and hopefully bring another championship to Baltimore.”
Machado consecutive games played streak ended at 229 due to the suspension. So, start a new one tonight?
“I want to play as much as I can,” he said. “I go out there, not thinking about how many games I can play consecutively. I go out to do whatever I can to help the team win. Just trying to help whatever way I can. Hopefully I can play 20 years. I’d rather have 20 years in my pocket rather than consecutive games. No one will ever beat Cal’s record.”
Machado was suspended after he charged the mound and threw a punch at Kansas City’s Yordano Ventura. He was asked today what he would do if a similar situation comes up in the future.
“Why would I act differently? The situation happened. Baseball is baseball. You have to step into the lines and there are situations that you have to put your ego aside and become a man,” he said. “If someone is throwing at you trying to hurt you, you have to do what you’ve got to do. We were down 24 guys, but it was not a situation I provoked. It is something that MLB needs to look at.
“Hopefully one day they can step in the box and see how that feels. But, it’s over, it’s done. Would I take it back? No. I did what I needed to do to be who I am. I will continue playing baseball and be a good teammate for my teammates and do what we have in mind here.”
O’s center fielder Adam Jones was asked today if the time off could help Machado to get rest.
“At 23, he doesn’t need any rest. He missed the (heck) out of playing for four games,” Jones said. “He knows what he is capable of. In four games, he could have probably hit four home runs and drove in 10. We could have won all four games. But we’re 2-2 without him. We missed him. Get his butt back in the lineup.”