BALTIMORE – Manager Buck Showalter is happy to have Manny Machado back.
“Any time you add a player of Manny's ability and potential it bodes well,” Showalter said before Tuesday’s postponement.
“We feel like Manny can contribute to us defensively if there are some periods he goes through offensively like all guys do. I think that is something I think we're looking for, some solidity over there at third base, as much as anything else.”
Even though Machado had only three official rehab games, Showalter is convinced he’s ready.
“He's actually had a lot more than that. He's had over 50 plate appearances. ... He's been around the baseball atmosphere and seen pitching for quite a period of time now. This is not where he's been in the training room and all of a sudden went and played three games in Frederick,” Showalter said.
“This is Manny's call as much as anything because we talked to him and certainly he's been really mature about taking wanting to be here so badly out of it and if anything, he's helped kind of slow the process down a little bit. That's why I wasn't asking every day, 'How are you feeling now? How do you feel after that at-bat? How do you feel after that throw?' He doesn't need that. When he's ready, he'll know. And the good thing is he knows what's needed up here to play at this level and I've got a lot of faith in him. I told you a few days ago it was a baseball decision, not a medical decision, with the number of plate appearances and the number of people that have seen him.”
Machado’s sidekick, shortstop J.J. Hardy is happy to have him back, too.
“He looks like he's in good spirits," Hardy said. "It looks like he's feeling good. From what I heard, he did really well in A-ball for a couple of games. It sounds like he's ready to be here. I think everyone here is excited he's here so obviously we're glad to have him back."
Hardy thinks that Machado will help the team, but doesn’t think he should have undue attention.
“I don't know why we would want to put that much pressure on him, and expect him to come back and make an immediate impact. But he's a great player and he's going to make our team better. So, if it's not an impact in the first week, then it will be for the long haul,” Hardy said. “It's going to be nice to be looking over to my right and being pretty familiar with each other," Hardy said. "We're all happy to a have him back."