Machado to be introduced in September, join GCL Orioles on Sunday


Top draft pick arrives in Baltimore for physical; Showalter gears up to face last team he managed

August 18, 2010|By Dan Connolly, The Baltimore Sun

Manny Machado's whirlwind week continued Wednesday, when he flew to Baltimore a day before his team physical, which will take place today and Friday. He'll then head back to Florida to sign his contract Friday night or Saturday and suit up in his first Orioles minor league uniform Sunday.

Machado, a Miami high school shortstop who agreed to a $5.25 million deal Monday night as the third overall pick in the 2010 draft, won't officially be introduced at Camden Yards until Sept. 3 or 4, during the Orioles-Tampa Bay Rays series.

That's when he'll have his first news conference, though Machado will likely speak to the local media via conference call Friday or Saturday, once his contract is signed.

The delay in his introduction and news conference is because he wants his mother, who recently had surgery and cannot fly, to be part of the festivities.

"He wants her to be present, as she should be, and that's the delay," Orioles amateur scouting director Joe Jordan said. "That's all it is, and we are just accommodating that."

Because Machado, 18, is under age 21, Major League Baseball requires parental consent for him to sign a contract. Therefore, Machado won't put his name on the dotted line until he arrives home in Miami either Friday night or Saturday. An Orioles scout will be on hand for the signing.

Machado will report Sunday to the club's minor league complex in Sarasota, Fla. He will join the Gulf Coast League Orioles and work out with the team, but no decision has been made about whether he'll play in any minor league games this season.

"We are just getting him in uniform, getting him on the field, getting him to work out, seeing what kind of condition he is in," Jordan said. "They all think they are in great shape, but like any player, we are going to work him out and see how his body responds, see if there is any soreness, and that will dictate if and when he will play in a game. We are really in no hurry whatsoever."

No longer a Ranger

The Texas Rangers come in for a four-game series starting tonight to face the Buck Showalter-led Orioles for the first time.

Showalter, who still lives in Dallas, managed the Rangers for four seasons before being fired after the 2006 season. He was replaced by current Rangers manager Ron Washington. Several of Showalter's former players, such as Michael Young, C.J. Wilson and Ian Kinsler, are still with the Rangers.

"It's the first time I won't be pulling for them, the next four days. That's pretty much the way I look at it," Showalter said. "There's a lot of people I respect over there. They're one of, if not the best, teams in the American League. It's come together. I'm happy for Ron. He's the perfect guy in that situation, what was needed. I'm happy for him."

The Rangers lead the AL West and are considered one of the more formidable teams in the league. While working as an ESPN analyst, Showalter said he continually praised the Rangers this season.

"They're going to be tough to beat in the postseason. I said it at ESPN early on and nobody listened to me, and then in May it was, 'Tell me about these Rangers.' They started pushing them up in the highlights a little bit," Showalter said. "I had a good feeling what was coming this year for them. ... I'm proud of them. But the next four days, we're going to try to figure out a way to hang with them."

Johnson nearing return

Reliever Jim Johnson, who has been on the disabled list since May with right elbow inflammation, is expected to pitch consecutive games at Single-A Frederick on Friday and Saturday before the team decides whether to activate him from the 60-day disabled list or continue his rehabilitation stint.

"It's more of a case of 'Let's get through that and see where we are,' " Showalter said. "From what I understand, and I am relying completely on other people, but he is not completely back and he's not ready to come here yet. So we'll see where we are after the two back-to-backs."

Johnson has allowed four runs and 12 hits in nine innings at four levels in his rehab stint. With president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail in attendance, Johnson pitched two scoreless innings Tuesday for Frederick, allowing two hits and striking out one.

Johnson, the club's closer in the second half of 2009, struggled in 10 games this season for the Orioles, going 1-1 with a 6.52 ERA before being demoted to Triple-A Norfolk. The elbow injury was discovered shortly after his demotion.

"I don't have a whole lot of history with him," Showalter said. "I'm hopefully looking forward to getting him up here, and a lot of people are very high on him."

Hernandez might not be ready by Sept. 1

Right-handed reliever David Hernandez, who was placed on the DL on Aug. 5 after spraining his left ankle, might not be ready when rosters expand Sept. 1, though the club remains hopeful.

"I would be real happy if that happened," Showalter said of Hernandez's return in early September. "From what I am hearing, when you are dealing with that ligament part of the ankle, if you push it too quick, it blows up."

Hernandez has started throwing to maintain arm strength, but he is still experiencing swelling in the ankle. He can't throw off a mound because the injury is to his landing leg. Showalter said he doesn't expect Hernandez to miss the remainder of the season.

"I wouldn't go that far yet," Showalter said. "I think he will pitch again."

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