SARASOTA, Fla. — Manny Machado was the only major leaguer to play in all 162 games in 2015. He’d like to do the same this year.
Last spring, the Baltimore Orioles third baseman entered camp full of uncertainty. He had his second knee surgery in as many years, and hoped for a complete season.
It was that, most definitely — Machado hit .286 with 35 home runs and 86 RBIs and stole 20 bases.
He was proud of those numbers, but also of the 162.
“I’m going to do everything possible to play every game. It was a great accomplishment last year. I enjoyed it. It was awesome. I was able to say I was the only one to do it,” Machado said.
Around the Orioles, streaks are a big deal. The big streak — Cal Ripken, Jr.’s. 2,632 consecutive games — isn’t in danger.
Machado, who is 23, would have to play every game for more than 15 years to threaten Ripken, but according to manager Buck Showalter, that’s not going to happen.
“Cal’s not in jeopardy,” Showalter said.
At the end of last season, Machado campaigned for the Orioles to bring back their top free agents. Chris Davis, Darren O’Day and Matt Wieters are back.
Machado is still three seasons away from free agency, and while Baltimore has explored a long-term agreement with him, there’s never been anything concrete.
“They’re trying to keep everybody here. That’s good for me. I hope they keep me here long-term. But the case is you can’t sign everybody. You can’t bring everybody back. It’s just part of the business,” Machado said.
Davis’ seven-year, $161 million contract was by far the largest one in team history. A new deal for Machado could be even larger. The Davis pact excited Machado.
“I mean there’s hope. That brings out hope,” Machado said. “I know they’ve got the money for it.”
So far, Machado has two All-Star appearances and two Gold Gloves.
“If I’m established, I’m established. If I’m an All-Star, I’m an All-Star. Those are the things you can’t control. I can’t control those things. I can control to go out there every day and be the best player I can be, the best teammate I can be. I think that’s one of my goals this year, just to go out there and be the best teammate I can be and help everybody in every way that I can,” Machado said.
Machado came to the Orioles in 2012, and the team made the postseason for the first time since 1997. In 2014, he had his second knee surgery and missed Baltimore’s postseason run. That’s what he has mind on this year.
“We’ve gone to places other teams in our division haven’t gone. I think we just can’t think about that stuff. We have to go out there and play. I think we have a great ballclub here, we have the people we need to surround ourselves with,” Machado said.
Orioles ban postgame pie celebrations, cite safety concerns: Bye-bye, Oriole pie.
Over the last several years, the Baltimore Orioles often celebrated victories with center fielder Adam Jones smashing a pie in the hero’s face. Among the teammates he tagged, in fact, was Felix Pie.
Now, the team has decided to end the practice for safety reasons.
The ritual became so ingrained that Jones arranged with a local bakery to furnish the pies. Not all players were fond of Jones’ antics, which generally came when an Orioles player was being interviewed on television.
Jones tweeted the news on Saturday.
“It’s no one’s fault. It’s just about safety. At the end of the day it can be dangerous so we’re being smart,” Jones wrote.
Baltimore players will try and come up with a less hazardous celebration.
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