Machado's five-game suspension upheld
Orioles third baseman threw bat in game against A's, prompting clearing of benches
BALTIMORE -- Third baseman Manny Machado's five-game suspension, stemming from incidents June 6 and 8 against the A's, was upheld on Monday by Major League Baseball.
Machado, who had his appeal heard on Wednesday, said he got the long-awaited news on Monday morning and was obviously disappointed that the suspension wasn't reduced. He began serving the suspension Monday night.
"I didn't throw the bat at the pitcher. I didn't harm anybody. And I'm going to get five games," said Machado, who threw his bat toward third base after consecutive brushback pitches from Oakland reliever Fernando Abad, resulting in a benches-clearing incident on June 8 -- resulting in four of the games in his ban.
"I didn't charge the mound. I didn't get in a fight. But it is what it is and now I have to serve the five games and we are going to be down a man and I'm not going to be able to help my team in these key games [against Texas] that are coming up, going into that Boston series. This is an unfortunate event and I'm going to have to deal with it."
Machado, who will not be eligible to return until the second game of the Red Sox series on Saturday, has been able to play while he waited on the result of the appeal. He has homered in three of his last four games and was starting to make offensive strides after a slow start to a season that began in May after offseason knee surgery.
"It just [stinks]. I was starting to feel a little better at the plate, and here they come with that bomb, five games," Machado said. "But you can't do nothing about it. It was going to come. It was just about time to come. Unfortunately, it came in the wrong spot, but hey, nothing you can do about it."
Machado was suspended for four games for his role in the bat-throwing incident against Oakland and one game for an incident two days earlier against the A's, when Machado took exception to a hard tag by third baseman Josh Donaldson. Machado later apologized for his actions, and he was also fined for the second incident, and the O's were optimistic his sentence would be reduced.
"I hadn't heard of a case where they went back and retroactively applied a suspension because the umpires didn't reprimand any discipline in that game on Friday night, because Manny stayed in the game, obviously," said Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette, who accompanied Machado and his agent at the appeal hearing.
Duquette said he wished that the umpires had issued a warning to Abad -- who received only a fine -- after his first brushback pitch, because the ramifications potentially could have been different.
"It was surprising," manager Buck Showalter said. "It is what it is. Not going to dwell on it. You understand the rules and why things are in place for different reasons and you react accordingly. Hopefully there will be some positive that comes out of it where Manny is concerned. And all players, coaches, managers, whatever."
Machado can participate in all pregame activities, but cannot be in the clubhouse during the game.
In the meantime, the Orioles will make do with a 24-man roster.
"That's the worst part about it," Machado said. "We're down a man. Obviously I don't want to put my team in that situation, especially five tough games. We've got Texas now and then Boston, which is a key series for us. We're down a man now.
"I've got to stay here and watch the games and know I can't be out there on the field trying to help my team whichever way. But I have a strong feeling, we're a great team and we're going to put this behind us and go out there and battle."
"There's never a good time for it to happen to start with, that's part of the reason you play at 24. They want to penalize the club, too," Showalter added. "We'll take it. Try to be stronger and use it as an opportunity to overcome some adversity that was self-inflicted. I'll keep that in mind."
An All-Star in his first full season win 2013 and a Gold Glove winner, Machado said he'd use the break to get his body better conditioned and wasn't worried about the incident altering his reputation in the game.
"People make bad mistakes in their lives, but all you can do is learn from it and keeping play the game how I play," Machado said. "I'm not going to change how I play the game. Play the game the right way. Play hard and just playing baseball, hopefully people see it that way. Just go to out there and show it."
Added Duquette: "If we'd known the suspension was going to be stayed, certainly we wouldn't have put a lot of time and energy into it, but we thought there were some good reasons to appeal the suspension. But of course in hindsight, that's 20/20 and if we had known now what we knew then, Manny could have taken the suspension and we could have moved on."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.