During an All-Star rookie campaign, Baltimore Orioles star Manny Machado consistently looked like a seasoned veteran both at the plate and in the field. This past weekend against the Oakland Athletics, the 21-year-old finally showed his youth.
And it has reportedly earned him a 5-game suspension, per Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports:
Joel Sherman of the New York Post is reporting that Machado has also been fined:
On Friday night, the young third baseman didn’t particularly enjoy an enthusiastic tag applied by Josh Donaldson. Machado slammed his helmet down, got in Donaldson’s face and benches subsequently cleared:
That was mere child’s play compared to what he did on Sunday, though.
With the A’s leading 10-0 in the bottom of the eighth, reliever Fernando Abad brushed Machado off the plate with a pitch around his knees, leading to a length stare-down from the youngster. The very next pitch came inside—intentionally inside, according to home-plate umpire Larry Vanover—and Machado responded by letting his bat fly dangerously towards Alberto Callaspo at the hot corner:
It was an immature, dangerous stunt, and most agreed that a suspension was inevitable. The only debate seemed to surround the severity of the punishment.
Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan didn’t hold back in his interpretation of the incident:
In an interview Monday with Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports, via Sporting News’ Justin McGuire, Machado was apologetic:
I want to apologize to all my teammates, my coaching staff, the Orioles organization and Oakland, and the fans also, for the way I acted and overreacted on that. It was a frustrating weekend, and I just let my emotions get the best of me.
When things happen like this you’re definitely going to learn. It’s going to make me a better player and it’s going to make me a better man. Looking forward, I hope I learn from it and don’t make the same mistake.
Alas, while he sounds remorseful, and he doesn’t have a checkered history, Machado actions were senseless, and there’s very little question he is deserving of the punishment doled out by the MLB.
The only thing he can do from here is use the time off to get his head right. After leading the league with 51 doubles as a rookie, Machado, recovering from offseason knee surgery, is hitting a mediocre .235/.291/.346.
O’s general manager Dan Duquette, via Sports Illustrated‘s Tom Verducci, even suggested a stint in the minors is an option at this point.
Either way, the Orioles, who are currently second in the AL East, will be hoping this suspension churns out the 2013 version of Machado.
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