Machado on his reaction, his debut & Showalter’s faith
I’ll have a full story up shortly on Orioles.com, but here is what top prospect Many Machado had to say prior to his Major League debut as he held court with the media this afternoon. Also, I did a story on Machado when he was first drafted that delves into his background and upbringing in baseball and you can read that here.
[on how he got the news] “I found out last night, coming off the bus, going into the team hotel. Had the skip call me over and give me the great news. [I was] very surprised. It wasn’t even crossing my mind, that I was getting called up and when he told me I was just in shock.”
[on his third base comfort level] “I’m very comfortable out there. Every day I try to be proactive, I try to take a couple ground balls at third base after I catch my grounders at short. I am pretty comfortable out there. So, I’m really looking forward to it.”
[on the biggest transition to third base] “Just the comfort level, getting used to playing third base every day, it’s a different position. Shortstop you are captain of the team. You are the leader out there. And third base you are kind of still, not as much movement going on.”
[on being around a lot of Majors Leaguers in spring and in the offseason helping] “Oh, yeah. It has helped me. They talk to me every once in a while, I try to keep in touch. And they give me advice on baseball and on the field and off the field problems. It’s great to have that on my side.”
[on how excited he is] “I’m super excited. I’m beyond excited.”
[on walking in the Orioles clubhouse today] “It was great. Everybody came up to me and congratulated me. It was just a great feeling. I’ve been thinking about this for a long time now. And it’s, finally, it’s here. This is the highest level but I am still going to go out there and try to play my game. Just go out there and have fun, and not put too much pressure on myself. Just do me. “
[on growing up in the Minors the last few years] “Yeah, it’s a tough adjustment. The biggest one was living on my own, away from home. And I’ve taken that pretty well. And talking to these older guys down in the Minor Leagues you really learn how to mature yourself and how to go about your business”.
[on not having to be the top guy helping his adjustment] “A little bit. I’m just trying to go out there and play. I’ve always been a top prospect and here I’m just a regular third baseman. A young, 20-year-old trying to make it in the League and play and stay here. So, yeah I think it will be a little easier to go out there and go and have fun.”
[first call] “My mother. Yeah they will be here.”
[on if he had a goal when he was drafted regarding reaching the Majors] “I kind of envisioned it around this time, maybe September callup I was aiming for. But I didn’t really set any goals. My major goal was just to learn and do the experience in the Minor Leagues.”
[on the message to him that the Orioles are bringing him up in a playoff hunt] “It means a lot. It means Buck has faith in me and he has trust in me that I can go out there and try to help this team win.”
[on if he expected this given his recent offensive outburst] “I wouldn’t say that. The whole [year] I’ve done above-average then what I think people expected me to do. And the last week that I’ve had, I’ve had a good week and I got called up. So it’s pretty great.”
[on the phone call to his mother, Rosa Nunez] “Well, I was kind of in shock when [Bowie manager] Gary Kendall told me I was going up to the big leagues. I didn’t know what to say. I was tingling everywhere. Then once it settled in, I made a phone call to my mom and [said], ‘You know, you have to look for a flight to come up to Baltimore.’ She goes ‘Why?’ ‘Well, I’m going up to Baltimore. I’m going to play tomorrow, third base.’ She thought I was lying. She was like, ‘Are you serious or are you joking?’ ‘No I’m serious. I got called up.’ We just shared that moment together and it was a good feeling.”
[on the second phone call, to his uncle] “Yeah , I talked to him right after. He was just crying. It was just an exciting moment just to hear him cry. This is what I’ve worked for my whole life, this is what I’ve dreamed about my whole life. And now this moment has come, so now it’s just a great feeling.
[on how much he will rely on J.J. Hardy at shortstop] “A lot. He’s been around this league a long time and he knows hitters and he knows how to play the game so any I need I can go to him. He’s going to have to teach me how to play the game and how to position myself out there and how to play the game.”
[on what he was working on taking pregame ground balls at third base] “Working every day, it’s something you have to do in this game. You have to keep working at something. You’re not perfect at everything so you always have to find something to do and get better at your weaknesses. I just tried to go out there and fix something. If I made an error on one play, I’d go out there and catch 10 more ground balls on that certain play.”
“That’s one of the big things I’m preaching about. The reaction time is a lot different around here than in the minor leagues. That’s going to be a tough adjustment to make, but that’s why I’m here. I’m going to go out there and try my hardest and work.”
[on if he thinks he will get butterflies tonight] “Everybody should be nervous in their first game. I’m 20 years old, but I think after that first pitch is thrown those butterflies will go away.”
[on how he wants to take this night in?] “Just go out there and be myself. Do what I’ve been doing the last two weeks and the last two years. Just be myself and just go out there and have fun.”