PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies fans cheered a little louder than they usually do for opposing players when Manny Machado stepped in the batter's box at Citizens Bank Park Tuesday night. Public address announcer Dan Baker introduced Machado with some extra enthusiasm behind his voice, as if the Orioles' third baseman was
PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies fans cheered a little louder than they usually do for opposing players when Manny Machado stepped in the batter's box at Citizens Bank Park Tuesday night. Public address announcer Dan Baker introduced Machado with some extra enthusiasm behind his voice, as if the Orioles' third baseman was playing for the Phillies.
Machado has been an Oriole since Baltimore, then led by current Phillies president Andy MacPhail, selected him with the third overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft. His tenure in Baltimore has almost certainly reached its final month, because the Orioles have the worst record in baseball and Machado is a free agent after the season.
"A lot of things can happen between now and then," Machado said. "I just don't really know what will happen."
It would be a surprise, though, if the Orioles did not trade the soon-to-be four-time All-Star because of the package of prospects a deal could return.
"I know Dan [Duquette, Orioles GM] and his group are working hard on ways to improve the club now and in the future," O's manager Buck Showalter said. "I think everybody understands what the next three or four weeks bring."
The Phillies have both a need on the left side of their infield and the assets to get a deal done. Although MLB.com's Todd Zolecki has reported that it's unlikely the Phillies target Machado at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline and instead pursue him in the offseason. It was why a cluster of Philadelphia reporters on Wednesday pressed Machado on his thoughts about the city and club they cover.
He said the "young" and "hungry" Phillies have been impressive. He said he wouldn't be surprised if they made some aggressive moves to turn the team around, because it's what MacPhail did in Baltimore. He said he's going to play shortstop wherever he ends up. He said asking if he would consider signing a contract extension after a trade was a "bold question."
But he is still wearing orange instead of red, and the Orioles, he said, are what he's focused on.
"Once I step in this clubhouse, I put on my uniform, I go out there, practice, do everything I can," Machado said. "Those are the only things that matter to me, going out there and being the best player I can to help out my team."
But has all this trade chatter, which might be at its loudest in this city, grown tiring?
"It's all interesting," Machado said. "Whether it's the year I'm having, the players I have around me, the trades, signing -- this is all a year that I'm never going to forget. So, kind of just try to enjoy it and go out there and control what you can."
What about the fact that a trade could move him from a 24-60 team to a playoff contender?
"I've been playing with them for seven years," he said. "How can I not like coming into this clubhouse and playing every day? Obviously, it [stinks] losing. Nobody wants to lose at the end of the day. But that I'm not having fun with the players around me? Of course we are. We're all having fun."
Machado wouldn't answer questions about what it will feel like when he's no longer in Baltimore. For now, he's focused on continuing what's been his best Major League season so far, in which he's slashing .311/.378/.565 with 21 home runs and 59 RBIs.
"I try to go out there, and all I know is that we're in July because it's my birthday on Friday," Machado said. "Other than that, I just go out there and play. It's Groundhog Day for us every day. We don't even think about it like that. Just go out there and play every day. Every day is a new day. Every day is the same day, and we just gotta get ready to play."
• The roster spot left by Colby Rasmus' abrupt departure from the Orioles was filled Wednesday afternoon when the O's recalled outfielder Joey Rickard from Triple-A Norfolk.
The Orioles placed Rasmus on the restricted list before Tuesday's 3-2 loss to the Phillies. Because the move came so close to the game, the club didn't have the time to bring another player to Citizens Bank Park and played with a short bench.
Rickard has hit .203 with six walks, five home runs and a double in 86 Major League plate appearances this season. He's slashed .303/.415/.445 in 34 games with Norfolk.
"Joey goes down and plays well, and that's why he's always a solid option for us," Showalter said. "Glad to have him back."
• Dylan Bundy (ankle sprain) will be activated from the disabled list to start Friday's game at Minnesota.
Joe Bloss is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia.