By Matt Zenitz
ABERDEEN – There's no doubt the Orioles are expecting plenty of fireworks from Manny Machado over the next several years.
However, Aug. 30, he was just another prospect trying to lay the groundwork for his path to the major leagues.
The 18-year-old shortstop, taken third overall in this year's draft, went 1-for-3 with a single in a relatively anticlimactic debut for Single-A Aberdeen, who fell 11-5 to Vermont in front of announced crowd of 6,466. Machado was pulled after the fifth inning.
Courtesy of Aberdeen Ironbirds
He popped out to second base in his first at-bat, singled to center in his second, and lined out to left in his third and final plate appearance.
All in all though, Machado was pleased with his debut, as was Ironbirds manager Gary Kendall.
"I think I did pretty good," Machado said. "I had a couple good at-bats and made a good defensive play. I just wanted to have fun, relax, go out there and play the game."
"It was a good day for him," Kendall added. "I liked the way he swung the bat, and he made a nice play [defensively]."
Kendall also knows there's no denying Machado's potential.
The Miami native has already drawn favorable comparisons to another former Miami high school phenom, Yankees all-star Alex Rodriguez. Machado batted .639 with 12 home runs and 56 RBIs in just 29 games during his senior year at Brito Miami Private High School.
Despite going just 1-for-7 during a two-game stint with the Gulf Coast League Orioles, Machado hit his first professional home run on Saturday.
"The sky's the limit with someone who has all the tools that he has," Kendall said. "I can't predict what kind of big leaguer he's going to be, but I see a lot of raw ability."
Machado will play in six more games with the Ironbirds before they wrap up their season Sept. 5.
- Infielder Mychal Givens, a second round pick in last year's draft, went 2-for-4 with a stolen base for Aberdeen. He is 4-for-7 with a home run and four runs scored in two games with the Ironbirds. Givens has missed most of 2009 after having surgery on his left thumb. He batted just .222 (4-for-18) in seven games for Single-A Delmarva before getting hurt.
-Jason Gurka, a 15th-round pick of the Orioles in 2008, was shelled for seven runs in just 1 and 2/3 innings of work. He yielded four hits, issued three walks and served up a three-run home run to Lake Monsters designated hitter Russell Moldenhauer.
Posted August 31, 2010