The biggest surprise of the winter meetings came when Buck Showalter casually mentioned that Manny Machado had been recently hospitalized with meningitis.
“It was tough, tough on me for a couple of weeks, bounced back from that. I’m healthy now and working out,” Machado said.
Machado said he was in the hospital for two days and lost some weight. Showalter has been joking about Machado making the club if he has a good spring while executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette believes the team will be much stronger with Machado at third base from the beginning.
“It helps that I’ve been through it,” Machado said. “I want to go out there and try and earn a spot. I’m going to go out there and show Buck I can still play some third base.”
Last August, Machado was surprisingly promoted to play third base after playing shortstop at Bowie, and the improvement his defense provided was a key to the team’s success.
At 20, Machado is still a youngster, though not technically a rookie, but he still has more than two months of big league experience, including the postseason.
“I will always remember the playoffs. I will always remember the season I had with the team. I was a rookie. It was my first year I had with the team. I’ll never forget it,” Machado said.
“I really love this team. To have a manager like Buck writing my name in the lineup every day is fun. Hopefully, we’ll continue what we started last year and we’ll be successful again this year.”
He isn’t upset that the Orioles didn’t make many moves to change the team.
“We did what we did last year with the same group of guys. It’s going to be better. We have the same bond,” Machado said. “To carry that on, to we’ll have the advantage over other teams that make big transactions.”