GLENDALE, Ariz. – It’s official: Saturday was Manny day.
Manny Machado made his highly anticipated Cactus League debut for the Padres on Saturday afternoon, starting at third base and batting second against the Giants at Peoria Sports Complex. He played three innings, going 0-for-1 with a walk.
Machado worked out at the Padres’ complex in Peoria on Friday afternoon, after which San Diego decided he was ready for his first game action.
“We just wanted to be able to build a progression that worked well for him, make sure that he was moving around the field well,” manager Andy Green said. “He feels strong. We kept communicating with him every day, tried to plot his course."
The Padres signed Machado to a 10-year, $300 million contract, which at the time was the largest guaranteed contract ever signed by a free-agent athlete in North American team sports. Bryce Harper’s 13-year, $330 million deal eclipsed it this week, though Machado’s annual salary will be more than $4 million higher than Harper’s.
Machado’s signing has energized the Padres’ fan base, so it should be no surprise that Saturday’s debut came in a game being televised on Fox Sports San Diego and broadcast on 93.7 FM, the team’s flagship radio station in San Diego.