- - Tuesday, June 25, 2019

BALTIMORE — In the summer of 2012, the Baltimore Orioles called up Manny Machado from Double-A Bowie, where he was hitting just .266. But the then-rookie proved he was ready for the major leagues by helping the team to its first playoff appearance in 15 years.

“It was great for the city; the city loved it,” Machado, now 26, said in Baltimore on Tuesday — this time in a San Diego Padres uniform.

“We grew as a group together. We had so many great memories here.”

But the band was broken up last summer, with veterans such as Zach Britton, Kevin Gausman, Jonathan Schoop and Machado traded to playoff contenders for minor league prospects after three playoff appearances with Machado in the infield.

The Orioles set a franchise record for futility, finishing 47-115 in 2018 and they are on track to do even worse this season, with a 22-57 record after Tuesday’s 8-3 loss to the Padres.



Machado didn’t show much empathy for the current plight of the Orioles, though he praised departed veterans Adam Jones and shortstop J.J. Hardy who helped pave his way to the majors.

“You have to turn the page,” Machado said of the two-game interleague series in Baltimore on Tuesday and Wednesday. “I have to try to win these games.”

The perennial All-Star was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers last July and helped the team reach the World Series, where they lost to the Boston Red Sox.

As a free agent, the power-hitting third baseman signed a 10-year deal with the Padres for a reported $300 million prior to this season. Machado entered Tuesday hitting .278 with 16 homers, 47 RBIs and an OPS of .847. He takes delight in nurturing young teammates such as 20-year-old shortstop Fernando Tatis, Jr., who was hitting .323 through Monday.

One of the few major league players to be teammates with both Machado and Bryce Harper is Padres pitcher Craig Stammen, who was with Washington from 2012 to 2015.

“(Machado) is one of the most talented players I have ever been around,” Stammen said. “We joke that he never sweats; he makes it look so effortless at third base. I am glad he is our side.”

Harper signed with the Nationals’ National League East rival Phillies, while Machado switched leagues with last summer’s trade and stayed in the NL West after signing with San Diego.

Both players have rubbed umpires and some fans the wrong way, with bat flips, ejections and the like.

“They know they get booed because they are the best (opposing) player,” Stammen said of Machado and Harper.

Machado said he didn’t know what to expect when he was introduced to Orioles fans as the starting third baseman Tuesday while hitting in the No. 3 hole for San Diego. He said he had not been in the visiting clubhouse at Camden Yards since 2010 when he took part in a minicamp for Orioles prospects.

Machado received a standing ovation from many of the 21,644 in attendance.

He struck out in his first at bat in the first inning before hitting a home run in the fourth inning. It was Machado’s 100th career home run at Camden Yards.

“I’m a little more nervous today,” he said before the game. “I guess it’s a weird nervous.”

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