Machado's poor play, behavior could earn him suspension, demotionManny Machado's actions sparked two near-brawls over the weekend against the Athletics.
Baltimore third baseman Manny Machado appeared preternaturally cool in the big leagues last year. He started the season at age 20 and finished it with the most doubles in the American League and acclaim as its best defender. This year, with his play and behavior turning sour, a vexing question keeps coming up about the guy who appeared to be a reliable star on the rise: What's wrong with Machado?
"It's a good question," Orioles general manager Dan Duquette said.
Machado's play and comportment have been so problematic Duquette would not rule out sending him to the minor leagues.
"That's always an option," Duquette told SI.com. "The kid's proven he can play in the big leagues. He was the defensive player of the year in the American League last year. But he's only, what, 21 years old? He doesn't turn 22 until next month. I think what happened was he got to be a big star in a hurry. Some people need a little more time to mature. I think what we're looking at is a player development issue with Manny. [A minor league assignment] is always an option."
Machado is also facing the possibility of a suspension because of what umpires called his "intentional" throwing of a bat upon swinging at a pitch Sunday against Oakland. Major League Baseball officials are reviewing the incident, with a decision expected Tuesday. Machado is likely facing a suspension of four games or more. In 2002, Boston outfielder Trot Nixon was suspended for four games for throwing his bat in the direction of Tampa Bay pitcher Ryan Rupe during a swing. Unlike Machado, Nixon was not ejected by umpires at the time of the incident. MLB officials also are reviewing plays involving Machado in the same game Sunday in which his bat twice hit Athletics catcher Derek Norris on his backswing. Though the contact appeared incidental, Machado showed no concern or professional courtesy toward Norris.
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