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Nerves, excitement define Manny Machado's first return to Baltimore

Nerves, excitement define Manny Machado's first return to Baltimore

It’s important to remember that Manny Machado *never* gets nervous. Not outwardly, anyway.

The uber-talented Machado came up in August of a pennant race back in 2012, as a 20-year old learning to play a new position on the fly. Instead of the nerves getting to him, Machado thrived. It was because of his defense the team returned to the postseason for the first time in more than a decade.

And yet, hours before his first career game in Camden Yards as a visitor, Machado admitted that while Monday night he was mostly excited, by Tuesday afternoon, that excitement had turned to nerves.

“I’m never nervous,” Machado clarified quickly to a group of reporters he knew quite well the last seven years in Baltimore. “But I don’t know, I guess it’s like a weird nervous in a way. It’s just different. It’s a different nervous, it’s always coming to the same clubhouse, walking through the same door, parking in the same parking spot, taking the same route to the baseball field every day...it was just all different today. It’s a good nervous though. It’s a good nervous.”

If Machado was telling the truth, he didn’t show it on the field during batting practice and warmups. The third baseman smiled and laughed as he spoke with fans, graciously took a few pictures, and generally looked like he was enjoying himself.

Machado has been the center of attention plenty of times in his baseball career, and that was clearly the case once again. Even Orioles manager Brandon Hyde offered to keep his media availability short and sweet to leave time “for the other guy,” and as his session wrapped up he called out “Manny time!”

Of course, while it might be “a little weird” for him, Machado also emphasized how excited he was to be back.

“Excited to be back, excited to see the fans out there and take third base again, like I did for a long time,” Machado described. “It’s gonna be a lot different. Excited to take that field again. Playing baseball, going out there, going to bring back a lot of memories...Just excited to take the field again in Baltimore at Camden Yards.”

Machado was struck by how many number 13 jerseys he saw around town Monday, and if that anecdote is any indication, he can probably expect a warm reception when he walks out of the visitor’s dugout. He’s clear that he has no expectations, though.

“I don’t expect anything...just to go out there and play baseball,” Machado said. “I’m going to see a lot of fans that supported me, and those fans will never be forgotten. It’s going to be fun to see those faces again.”

One thing is certain. Machado is definitely trying to enjoy every moment of his return.

“It’s completely different,” he reiterated to reporters. “I’m just trying to soak it all in. Trying to go out there, play baseball, take it one day at a time...it’s just a little different today that it’s playing in front of a crowd that I’ve known for the last 7 years, so who knows? Try to take it all in and enjoy myself.”

Ultimately, the memories in this town were too many to count for Machado, who admitted there were a lot of emotions running through him before the game. It was telling how often he kept repeating how this wasn’t just his place of employment for all those years; it was home.

Of course, the best homes have the best local food, and Baltimore is no different.

“You can’t leave Baltimore without crabs, so we’ll be having some tonight.”

Machado knows his audience, and if there’s one thing fans in Baltimore love, it’s athletes who talk about Baltimore crabs.

It almost seemed like he’s played here before.

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Baltimore Orioles Roundup: Jonathan Villar steals 37th base of the season

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Baltimore Orioles Roundup: Jonathan Villar steals 37th base of the season

Check out the latest news and notes from the  Baltimore Orioles' clubhouse. 

Player Updates:

2B Jonathan Villar went 1-for-3 with a walk, a stolen base, and a run scored in Friday’s win over the Mariners. Villar singled to lead off the bottom of the first inning and came around to score on Anthony Santander’s three-run homer. He stole his 37th base of the season after walking to lead off the seventh. The speed is great, but he’s also pitched in 23 homers, 69 RBI, and 106 runs scored to go along with a .277/.344/.462 batting line. 

2B Hanser Alberto went 1-for-3 with a solo homer and a walk Friday against Seattle. Alberto is now up to 12 homers on the year, with nine of them coming during the second half. The 26-year-old has faded here in September, but he still finds himself among the league-leaders with a .313 batting average. Nobody would have predicted that in the spring.

OF Anthony Santander finished 1-for-4 with a three-run homer in Friday’s 5-3 win over the Mariners. Santander delivered the big blow in a four-run first inning against Felix Hernandez. He’s now homered twice in his last three games, bringing his total to 20 despite appearing in just 91 games this season. The Orioles are looking for building blocks and the 24-year-old switch-hitter would appear to be one of them.

SP Aaron Brooks threw seven innings of one-run ball for the win against the Mariners on Friday. He came on in relief of opener Richard Bleier, who allowed a two-run shot to Kyle Lewis over his two innings of work. Brooks induced just three swinging strikes in his 83 pitches, but it didn’t really matter, as he Seattle’s lineup to just one hit while walking one and striking out four. 

Injuries

OF Mason Williams, knee, out indefinitely

RP Hunter Harvey, biceps, sidelined, day-to-day

RP Josh Rogers, elbow, 60-Day IL, out indefinitely 

SP Alex Cobb, back, 60-Day IL, 2020

Coming Up:

Saturday, 9/21: Mariners at Orioles, 7:05 p.m., Camden Yards

Sunday, 9/22: Mariners at Orioles, 1:05 p.m., Camden Yards

Monday 9/23: Orioles vs Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. Rogers Centre

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Orioles Roundup: Trey Mancini stays hot in 8-4 home loss to Blue Jays

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Orioles Roundup: Trey Mancini stays hot in 8-4 home loss to Blue Jays

In a fitting tribute to most games this season in Baltimore, Trey Mancini had a terrific day at the plate, but the pitching staff allowed too many home runs and the O's ended up losing.

Here's everything you need to know about the Orioles.

Player Updates:

OF Trey Mancini hasn't slowed down at all for the Orioles, turning in a 4-for-4 night to tie his career high in hits. He's hitting .286 with 34 home runs during his breakout season.

OF Austin Hays enjoyed a banner night, hitting his first home run of the season and making one of the year's highlight catches, robbing a home run well over the centerfield wall.

SP Gabriel Ynoa allowed three runs in 6.1 innings. He didn't walk anyone and allowed just six hits, but he also only struck out one batter despite pitching into the seventh inning, and two of the hits allowed were home runs.

Injuries

RP Hunter Harvey, biceps, sidelined, day-to-day

RP Josh Rogers, elbow, 60-Day IL, out indefinitely 

SP Alex Cobb, back, 60-Day IL, 2020

Coming Up:

Friday, 9/20: Mariners at Orioles, 7:05 p.m., Camden Yards

Saturday, 9/21: Mariners at Orioles, 7:05 p.m., Camden Yards

Sunday, 9/22: Mariners at Orioles, 1:05 p.m., Camden Yards