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Machado homers for first time with Padres

Third baseman thrilled with dinger, even though it won't count
@AJCassavell
March 12, 2019

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Over the course of his record-setting contract, Manny Machado will hit his share of memorable home runs in a Padres uniform. His first? It came on a rain-soaked night in Peoria, in a game that was called before the end of the first inning. Technically, because of

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Over the course of his record-setting contract, Manny Machado will hit his share of memorable home runs in a Padres uniform.

His first? It came on a rain-soaked night in Peoria, in a game that was called before the end of the first inning. Technically, because of the rainout, Machado’s homer didn't even count.

That didn't make the three-run blast any less majestic.

The Padres' superstar third baseman demolished a first-inning offering from A’s starter Aaron Brooks off the facing of the pavilion in left field at Peoria Stadium. Machado circled the bases under a drizzle, as a sparse and soggy crowd gave him a standing ovation.

"That felt good,” Machado said. "Finally getting in the groove of things, and it's time to ramp it up. We're a couple weeks away from Opening Day."

It was vintage Machado, too. Brooks tried to sneak a fastball inside. Machado was having none of it. It's easy to envision Machado using the same violent-but-smooth stroke to pepper the Western Metal Supply Building in left field at Petco Park.

"It finally went out," Machado said with a grin, after he'd sent four balls to the warning track already this spring.

Of course, Machado isn't concerned with his spring numbers. He's only 26, but he's a seven-year veteran, well-versed in the rituals of Spring Training. Had Tuesday's results counted, Machado would be hitting .286 with three extra-base hits in six games as a Padre.

"It's more about keeping consistent at-bats throughout the spring and staying with what works for you," Machado said. "The home runs are going to come. You don't want to go out there and look for it. These stats don't count here. You just want to prepare as much as you can."

The preparation has been different for Machado this spring. He didn't join the club until the fourth day of full-squad workouts, after an eventful offseason in which he was one of the most sought-after free agents in recent memory.

By now, Machado says he’s up to speed.

"It's worked perfectly fine with me missing the first couple days," Machado said. "It's been a typical Spring Training with what I've always had throughout my career. Obviously new faces and a new team. But I'm feeling a lot better. I'm excited for this team. We're going to do a lot of special things this year."

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.