Minutes later in the O’s clubhouse, Machado said he made the decision in consultation with team management.
“First off, just trying to get this past us,” Machado said. “It has been lingering for a while now. Me, Buck and Dan (Duquette), we all sat down and came up with a situation. Try to see what was best for the team. Not to wait around and let this keep lingering. Let’s get this past us already.
“I’ll be down for a couple of days. With J.J. (Hardy) back now and how the team has been playing, hopefully they can pick up some slack and I won’t be missed as much as I will be. I’ve got confidence in my teammates that they will pick up for the mistake that I did. I have confidence they will keep playing good baseball.
“Rest is always good. Obviously, I would like to be playing. I like playing every day. When we come here, it’s to compete and try to win every day. Knowing Buck, he puts us in every day and he pushes us. It just sucks that I’ll be down for four days and away from the team. The team will have to play with 24, that is the biggest issue we are going to have. We’ll get this past this and hopefully, come Friday, I’m ready to roll again.”
Machado was suspended for charging the mound and throwing a punch at Kansas City pitcher Yordano Ventura on June 7 at Camden Yards.
Ventura had his suspension reduced from nine games to eight games and he began serving it today. He dropped his appeal, the reduction coming through a negotiation between his agent and officials from Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association. The Orioles did not seem to feel that an appeal and/or such a tactic would get Machado’s suspension reduced.
Machado reacted today to Ventura winding up suspended for eight games while he will serve four.
“I think MLB thought it was fair what they gave me,” Machado said. “I don’t think we were going to get it down. It is their opinion against mine. I think we had a good case, but they were pretty strong on the four games.
“It’s not right he will miss one start and I’ll miss four games. Think I’m more valuable as a player for my teammates than he is as a starter and he’s going only to miss one (start) for the incident he did. This whole problem started with him. Why do I get four and he gets one? That is up to MLB to figure out.
“All I can say is I wish whoever was making those opinions could step in the batter’s box and try to get hit by a 99 mph fastball thrown at them a couple of times. What happened is in the past now. We’ll get this past us. It is done and over. Now be ready to help this team get to the playoffs.”
Machado’s streak of playing in 229 consecutive games - currently the longest in the majors - will come to an end Sunday. Does it bother him his streak will end this way?
“The situation how it ended, it’s just a. ... I’m getting penalized for something that someone else does,” he said. “You are going to have to put it past us. I’ll start a new streak Friday. I don’t think no one is ever going to break Cal Ripken’s record. That is nowhere to be found. He will always be the Iron Man.
“It was cool that Buck gave me opportunity to go out there every day and perform at an elite level. It was something special to play 162 last year. I wore it after the season. I was a little drained, but it was a heck of a ride. Just going to have to start a new one on Friday.”
When Hardy came off the disabled list today, Machado returned to third base.
“It was like I never left,” Machado said. “It was awesome. I love playing that position. Excited to have J.J. back. I think everyone in this clubhouse was pumped to have him back. Just his presence takes us a long way. He is the captain of the infield, the captain of the team.”
As for today’s game, Yovani Gallardo provided a lift for an Orioles rotation that had posted an ERA of 7.15 over the last eight games. He held Toronto to two runs and five hits over five innings to get the 4-2 win. Gallardo is 2-1 with a 6.26 ERA. He is 10-4 with a 3.64 ERA in 17 career games versus the American League East.
Here are Gallardo’s postgame quotes:
On returning to the team and today’s outing: “Been feeling pretty good ever since I started throwing (again). Made some pitches whenever I had to and we got the win - that is the most important thing. It was nice to be back on the mound and contribute. This was a big win for us.”
What was different from April?: “Just feeling a little stronger in the shoulder. Did a lot of hard work and it has been showing the way the ball is coming out of my hand and my command. The slider was working good. That is another thing, to be able to finish that slider and get the sharp break instead of a break halfway to home plate. That is the difference from before and after.”
Can Gallardo provide a lift to the rotation?: “I think it takes five guys. But I’ve been feeling good and I’m ready for the challenge like the other four guys. We’re a pretty close group and we’re looking forward to the rest of the season. We all know what we have to do. Sometimes it will be one guy to pick us up and sometimes another guy. That is what is going to make a difference.”
What about his velocity, which was up today from before?: “Just the way the ball is coming out of my hand - if you’ve been pitching for a while, you know what that feels like. It feels like it has that life and it jumps through the zone right before it gets over the plate. It shows the hard work that the trainers, strength coaches and everybody has been busting their butts to get me back as quickly as we could. It feels nice to be back.”